- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 24, 2005

A drunken driver in a pickup truck slammed into a car in Falls Church early yesterday morning, killing a Fairfax man who was four days shy of his 19th birthday.

Fairfax County police said a 1998 Chevrolet pickup slammed into the rear of a Honda Accord, which was stopped at a red light shortly after midnight yesterday on eastbound Arlington Boulevard at Annandale Road.

Jonathan T. Bentley, a back-seat passenger in the Honda, was killed instantly, police said.

Pablo A. Cruz, 31, of the 3600 block of 16th Street Northwest in the District, was arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated and aggravated involuntary manslaughter.

Officer Bud Walker, a Fairfax County police spokesman, said an officer in a marked police cruiser was stopped at that light, witnessed the crash and arrested Mr. Cruz.



Mr. Cruz suffered injuries that police described as not life-threatening. He was taken to the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center.

The other two persons in the Honda, including the driver, were taken to Inova Fairfax Hospital with injuries that were not life-threatening. Police did not identify the two yesterday.

Jonathan Bentley’s father, Robert Bentley, told The Washington Times yesterday that his son — who was known as Tyler — would have celebrated his 19th birthday Monday.

Early yesterday morning, Jonathan Bentley, a graduate of W.T. Woodson High School in Fairfax, had just finished hanging out with his best friend, who was driving the car, Robert Bentley said. The two were taking a female friend home when the crash occurred.

“They were bringing her back home when that lunatic crashed into them,” Robert Bentley said.

Jonathan Bentley was an avid golfer and baseball player who ran cross-country at W.T. Woodson, and Robert Bentley recalled many ferocious father-son basketball games in the family’s driveway.

Robert Bentley said his son attended Northern Virginia Community College in Annandale and wanted to pursue a career in criminal justice.

“He was a great kid … it’s very hard,” Robert Bentley said, choking back tears. “He’d give the shirt off his back to help people.”

Neighbors of the Bentley family, who live on Cotton Farm Road in Fairfax, described Jonathan Bentley as a friendly and outgoing teen who often offered to mow their lawns and do other yardwork.

“He was a real friendly, approachable kid, the kind of guy who, if he was your neighbors’ kid, you’d like him,” said neighbor Greg Gillette. “He was respectful — he called me ‘Mr. Gillette.’”

Neighbor Robert Cosgriff said Jonathan Bentley “always had a wave and a smile whenever you saw him.”

“Pretty much the whole world was before him and, unfortunately, this drunk driver ended that,” Mr. Cosgriff said. “He certainly will be missed.”

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