An Albemarle County man facing charges of driving under the influence following a crash that left a lifelong Central Virginia resident dead, is a prominent international journalist and best-selling author.

Donovan James Webster, 55, remained in the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail over the weekend, charged with driving under the influence. Webster was involved in a wreck Thursday that killed Wayne Thomas White Sr., 75, of Waynesboro, on U.S. 250 near Route 151, according to county police.

Webster was not granted bond at a hearing Friday. Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Matt Quatrara said Webster likely will face more charges following an investigation.

A former senior editor of Outside magazine, Webster has written several books, including “The Burma Road: The Epic Story of the China-Burma-India Theater in World War II” and “Aftermath: The Remnants of War.” He has written articles for National Geographic, The New Yorker and Smithsonian magazines, and his international exploits have been the subject of two documentaries: “Running the Sahara,” released in 2007, and “Amazon Gold,” released in 2012.

“Aftermath” — which describes landmines, open-air graves and chemical remnants left over from conflicts throughout the 20th century — was the subject of a 1996 Daily Progress story titled “Echoes from the Battlefield.” Staff writer David A. Maurer’s profile portrayed Webster as a globetrotting journalist with an eye for compelling, offbeat stories.

In the article, Webster described visiting the skeletal remains of German soldiers in Russia, minefields in France and storage rooms full of fetuses deformed by Agent Orange in Vietnam. He also visited sites in the Dakotas, Nevada and Massachusetts contaminated by nuclear testing.

“More than anything, I just felt a deep sadness at our shortsightedness,” Webster said in the article.

Webster also has connections to the University of Virginia. He was a professor in the media studies department, but is no longer employed by the university, UVa officials said. He also worked as an editor at the Virginia Quarterly Review from December 2011 to December 2012.

Webster’s family confirmed the author is the same man charged in the crash, but declined to comment any further Saturday afternoon.

Attempts to contact the family of White, the victim, were unsuccessful, but his obituary gives a rough sketch.

According to the obituary, White was a native of Central Virginia who spent more than 20 years working for a tire company in Waynesboro. A longtime member of Union Baptist Church in Afton, White is described as a generous and deeply religious man who had “a lifelong love of farming.”

White leaves behind 10 children, 19 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.

White’s funeral is scheduled for Thursday morning at Union Baptist Church.


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