SAN FRANCISCO – A graduate student who drove David Halberstam when the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist was killed in a car crash will be charged with misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter, the prosecutors said Thursday.
Kevin Jones, 26, a graduate student at the University of California at Berkeley's journalism school, was driving Halberstam to an interview with football legend Y.A. Tittle on April 23 when the fatal accident happened in Menlo Park, south of San Francisco.
A crash investigation showed that Jones made an illegal left turn into the path of a car that had the green light. That car crashed into the passenger side of the car in which Halberstam was riding, San Mateo County District Attorney James Fox said in a statement.
Jones will be charged next week, Fox said, but he did not elaborate on how his investigators concluded he was at fault or why criminal charges were warranted.
"The facts and circumstances surrounding the fatal automobile collision warrant the filing of the charge of vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence," Fox said.
Records from the California Department of Motor Vehicles show that Jones had two previous accidents on his record, from March 2005 and March 2006. Neither resulted in a citation.
An autopsy showed Halberstam, who was wearing a seat belt, died almost instantly when a broken rib punctured his heart, authorities said.
Halberstam, the author of 21 nonfiction books, was at work on a new one about the legendary 1958 NFL championship game between the Baltimore Colts and the New York Giants.
Halberstam, 73, won the Pulitzer Prize in 1964 for his coverage of the Vietnam War, a subject he revisited in his 1972 best-selling books, "The Best and the Brightest." He went on to write 14 other best-sellers, including "The Breaks of the Game," "The Reckoning," and "The Powers That Be."
"The Coldest Winter," an account of a key battle of the Korean War, is to be published posthumously in the fall.