Man Charged With Manslaughter, DUI for Killing Midlothian Father

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An Emporia man has been charged with manslaughter and his third offense of driving under the influence after a crash that killed another driver on state Route 288 in Chesterfield County early Tuesday.

Alonza Jefferson Jr., 46, of Midlothian was killed about 12:50 a.m. when a 1994 Chevrolet pickup traveling south on Route 288 near Chester Road crossed the median into the northbound lanes and hit his 1996 Cadillac, Virginia State Police said.

The crash caused the pickup to overturn and Jefferson’s Cadillac to hit the guardrail head-on.

Jefferson, who was wearing a seat belt, was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.

The driver of the pickup — Matthew P. Pernell, 27 — has been charged with DUI third offense and involuntary manslaughter, state police said early Wednesday. He was being held at the Chesterfield jail with no bond.

After the crash, Pernell had been taken to VCU Medical Center with injuries that were considered serious but not life-threatening.

Pernell has an extensive criminal record for impaired driving and traffic violations.

In March 2014, Pernell was convicted of a 2013 offense of driving under the influence and failure to stay in his travel lane while driving in Emporia, according to online court records. He was sentenced to a year in jail, but 11 months and 10 days of that sentence were suspended.

Pernell’s license was also suspended for a year for that 2013 DUI, though he was allowed to drive under certain circumstances with an ignition interlock device attached to his vehicle, such as to and from work, Alcohol Safety Action Program meetings, or medical appointments.

Court records show that it had been fewer than three years earlier, in 2011, when he was also convicted of DUI and given no active jail time, though the court prohibited him from driving for a year, other than to and from work.

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