SAN FRANCISCO -- The journalism student who was chauffeuring
David Halberstam when the Pulitzer Prize winner was killed said
Tuesday he jumped at the chance to spend time with the writer and
is grief-stricken at what happened.
"I want to apologize to his family because I feel so bad,"
said Kevin Jones, 26, who is in his first year of a two-year
program at the University of California, Berkeley Graduate School
of Journalism. "I just wanted to help him."
Although police have not established who was at fault in
Monday's crash, Jones said he felt responsible for the safety of
his celebrated passenger.
An autopsy conducted Tuesday showed Halberstam, who was wearing
a seat belt, died almost
instantly when a broken rib punctured his heart, San Mateo County
Coroner Robert Foucrault said. The cause of death was listed as
multiple blunt force trauma.
Jones was driving through an intersection with a traffic light
when another car broadsided his, smashing into the passenger side,
authorities said. Police said they were interviewing witnesses.
Halberstam, the author of 21 nonfiction books, was at work on a
new one about the legendary 1958 NFL championship game between the
Baltimore Colts and the New York Giants. Jones was taking him to
interview Hall of Fame quarterback Y.A. Tittle, who lives south of
Jones, who suffered a small puncture in one lung, said he
received an e-mail from the journalism school last Friday saying
Halberstam was looking for a driver who would get $20 an hour and a
one-on-one journalism lesson.
Jones was the first one to reply.
"He is one of those people you can't say his name without
saying Pulitzer Prize-winning author," Jones said. "I'm a
journalist and that deserves the utmost respect."
Halberstam's interview had been set for Saturday but was
rescheduled for Monday morning, according to Jones. During the hour
they spent in the car, they spoke about having children and about
how Jones' wife and Halberstam's daughter were teachers.
Jones, who has hired a lawyer, would not discuss the crash
itself. But he repeatedly expressed a desire "to make some kind of
tribute" to the man who reached the pinnacle of his profession and
spent the last hour of his life giving advice to a man just
beginning his career.