A Nov. 25 Metro article misspelled the middle name of Jonathan Tyler Bentley, a Fairfax teenager killed in a traffic accident on Arlington Boulevard. (Published 11/26/2005)
Last week, Jonathan Taylor Bentley was counting the days before he would see his best friend, Andrew Cruz, who was coming home from college for Thanksgiving.
Their reunion turned from happy to sorrowful early yesterday when a pickup truck slammed into the back of Cruz's 1993 Honda Accord, which was stopped at an eastbound lane of Arlington Boulevard waiting for the light at Annandale Road in Fairfax County to turn green. Police say the pickup driver was drunk.
Bentley, 18, who was in the back seat of the Accord, was killed instantly as the back of the car was crushed. Cruz, 18, who was at the wheel, and a female friend being driven home by the two teenagers suffered injuries that are not life threatening, police and Bentley's mother said.
Pablo A. Cruz, 31, of the District, the driver of the 1998 Chevrolet pickup truck, was charged with aggravated involuntary manslaughter and driving while intoxicated. He was at the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center yesterday. There is no indication that he and Andrew Cruz are related.
"What that drunk driver did, he murdered Taylor," Bentley's mother, Nancy Bentley, said yesterday afternoon outside the house where she raised her son, who was known by his middle name. "He used that car as a weapon. He took so much from us."
Bentley graduated from W.T. Woodson High School last spring and was taking classes at Northern Virginia Community College. He intended to enroll in Radford University to pursue a degree in criminal justice, his mother said.
Bentley, the younger of two boys, was an affectionate son, a generous friend and an avid athlete, Nancy Bentley said. One day, when he was 4 or 5, he told his grandmother: "Grandma, you know, life is grand!"
His family says they weren't empty words. "That's the way he lived it," his mother said.
What was supposed to be a large family gathering yesterday became a somber reunion as friends and relatives stopped by the Bentley residence to offer condolences.
Nancy Bentley, 52, broke the news to her son's girlfriend, a girl from college whom he hadn't yet introduced to his parents. But it seemed impossible to tell Brandon, his 2-year-old nephew, who asked, "Where's Taylor?" as soon as he walked in the door yesterday.
A woman who identified herself as the mother of the pickup truck driver said he is a construction worker who emigrated from the state of Oaxaca in Mexico.
"I think he was working late hours yesterday," said the woman, who did not provide her name. She said she didn't know where he had been before the accident and hung up the phone on a reporter after learning about the fatality.
In addition to his mother, Bentley is survived by his father Robert, 55, and his brother, Jason, 29.
"My husband said today the one thing he wanted to do one day was go golfing with his two boys and his grandson," Nancy Bentley said. "And that's been taken away from us."