CHESTERFIELD, Va. – There were raw emotions Tuesday, as co-workers, friends, and family grappled with the sudden death of Alonza Jefferson. He was killed just after midnight when a vehicle crossed lanes of traffic and ran into his Cadillac.
Virginia State Police said the 46-year-old husband and father of two was headed home after his second job.
The two-vehicle crash occurred at 12:50 a.m., police said, when an older Chevrolet pickup going southbound on Route 288 ran off the road and crossed the median into the northbound lanes.
The pickup, driven by Matthew P. Pernell, 27 of Emporia, struck Jefferson’s 1996 Cadillac.
The pickup overturned and the Cadillac continued head-on into the guardrail. Jefferson had on his seatbelt and Pernell did not.
Pernell has been charged with his third DUI and involuntary manslaughter. He is currently being held at the Chesterfield County jail with no bond.
A check of court records showed Pernell has faced more than a dozen traffic charges since 2008, including two DUI convictions – one in 2010, another in 2013.
Jefferson worked at TruGreen.
"It's a bit of a shock,” said Todd Evan, General Manager at TruGreen. “We're still kind of processing it."
"Been working with Alonza for over 20 years,” he added.
Co-workers struggled to try and understand what happened.
"He's a great family man, his daughter and son and his wife,” Evan said. “It's a huge loss to us."
Co-workers said that right now all they can do is pray.
"We're praying for his wife and family, keeping them in our thoughts and prayers,” Evan said.
Jefferson died at the scene, and Pernell was taken to VCU Medical Center with serious but not life-threatening injuries.
CBS 6 Legal Analyst Todd Stone said the two previous DUIs would play a role in sentencing, if Pernell was convicted of a crime involving alcohol.
A GoFundMe account has been established by Mr. Jefferson's family, to help with funeral expenses.