Local News

Authorities Search for Man Wanted in Woman's Death

Posted October 23, 2000 7:00 a.m. EDT

— The hunt is on for a man accused of killing an 80-year-old Nash County woman. After being charged with drunk driving, deputies say the suspect posted bail and disappeared.

Catherine Denton Jones was leaving a funeral October 13 when her car was hit by an alleged drunk driver.

José Carmen Negrete-Nava, 25, of Mexico, was taken into custody and charged with drunk driving. Deputies say he blew nearly two times the legal limit before posting bail.

Jones died the following day, and when police began searching for Negrete-Nava, they could not find him.

Now, with an angry community on the lookout, authorities are posting the suspect's picture around the county. They are offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to his arrest.

Once Negrete-Nava is in custody, he will be charged with felonious death by motor vehicle.

Meanwhile, Jones' family is trying to heal. Her daughter, Kathy Sherrod, was in the car when Jones was killed.

"She always looked for the good in anything, and I think that's why everybody loved her," Sherrod says. "She was so lovable."

Sherrod and the family wants simple justice.

"I want him to be punished for what he's done, so he won't go free and do it to some little kid or some other family," she says. "I just feel he needs to pay for what he's done."

Anyone with information should call theNash County Sheriff's Officeor theN.C. Highway Patrol.

Callers at a Rocky Mount radio station offered their sympathy to the victim's family. Most of the callers agreed that drunk driving is still as common as it has ever been, in spite of public awareness about the problem.

Since tougher drunk-driving standards were put in place, the percentage of fatal crashes caused by drunk drivers has dropped in North Carolina. Last year, 27 percent of all fatal crashes were caused by drunk drivers, down from 31 percent in 1997.