Author charged with DUI in fatal crash in Virginia

August 18, 2014 - 11:05 AM
Fatal Crash Author Arrested

This image provided by the Albemarle County Police Department shows 55-year-old Donovan James Webster of Charlottesville, Va. Webster faces charges of driving under the influence stemming from a crash that killed a 75-year-old Virginia man. (AP Photo/Albermarle County Police Department)

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — An acclaimed journalist and author was in jail without bond Monday on charges of driving under the influence stemming from a crash that killed a 75-year-old Virginia man.

Donovan James Webster, 55, of Charlottesville could face additional charges after an investigation into the Thursday crash in Afton, according to the Albemarle County Police Department. Authorities said the wreck killed Wayne Thomas White of Waynesboro, and it involved two vehicles and a tractor trailer. Webster was driving one of the vehicles, but police declined to provide further details on the wreck in Afton, just outside Charlottesville, which is 70 miles northwest of Richmond.

Webster is a former senior editor for Outside magazine and has written for The New Yorker, National Geographic and other magazines.

He also has written several books, including "Meeting the Family: One Man's Journey Through His Human Ancestry," ''The Burma Road: The Epic Story of the China-Burma-India Theater in World War II" and "Aftermath: The Remnants of War," a collection of essays on the effects of war plaguing civilians long after the conflicts. In 1997, the book won the Gelber Prize, one of biggest prizes in the world for books on international issues. He traveled to France, Russia, Vietnam, Kuwait, and a weapons testing site in Nevada to gather information for his book.

His travels for various projects were the subject of two documentaries: "Running the Sahara," released in 2007 and narrated by actor Matt Damon, and "Amazon Gold," released in 2012 and narrated by Academy Award winners Sissy Spacek and Herbie Hancock.

Webster also served as an editor for the Virginia Quarterly Review, a literary magazine that has been published at the University of Virginia since 1925, and a professor of media studies at the Charlottesville school.

Webster's family confirmed to The Daily Progress newspaper that the author is the same man charged in the crash but declined to comment any further. According to court records, a hearing is scheduled for October.

Phone messages left for his family by The Associated Press on Monday were not immediately returned. A phone number listed for White was disconnected.

According to an obituary, White "had a lifelong love of farming" and had more than 20 years of service with Friendly Tire Service in Waynesboro. He left behind 10 children, 19 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.

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Michael Felberbaum can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/MLFelberbaum.