ACCOMACK COUNTY, Va. (WAVY) – A head-on collision in the town of Keller on the Eastern Shore Saturday night killed three people and sent three others to the hospital.
Family members say Diann W. Jones, 55, Arnette Chandler, 58, and A’Janae Jones, 12, were on their way home to Exmore when the car they were in was struck.
Chandler was driving the Nissan Altima south on route 13 at 8:11 p.m. According to Corinne Geller with Virginia State Police, a van driven by Bonifilio Velazquez was heading north on the highway, then crossed over the center line, striking the Altima head-on.
Velazquez was not hurt. Geller said the 36-year-old man from Accomac is charged with DUI and three counts of involuntary manslaughter. He is being held without bond in the Accomack County Jail.
“He took three innocent lives that didn’t even choose to drink and drive,” said Diann’s daughter, Rycheka Jones. “And he chose to drink and drive. He needs to pay.”
Diann Jones, A’Janae Jones, and Chandler died at the scene. A 13-year-old boy, who the family says is Wysaan Kellam, was airlifted to Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters with life threatening injuries. Family members say Kellam is fighting for his life as of Sunday evening. Two other passengers, both girls ages eight and nine, were taken to Riverside Shore Memorial Hospital with minor injuries.
“I’m never going to be able to hug my sister again,” said Alfonso Wilson, Diann’s brother.
The Jones family has lived on the Eastern Shore for years. Since 1970, the family has gathered in Accomack County for a family reunion on Labor Day weekend. The victims were heading back from a family event in Wachapreague when the crash happened. Several family members were driving in a caravan back to Exmore.
“It’s just a hard time for the whole family,” said Wilson. “Like I said, God’s going to bring us through.”