Stay in the know! Sign up to get Fauquier County news updates delivered to your inbox.
Advertise on Fauquier Now!
Poll closed Vote!
Free classifieds! Members can also post calendar events, news, opinions and more ... all for free! Register now!
Login · Forgot Your Password?
July 5, 2019

Father gets 3 months in jail for son’s auto-wreck death

Jose Alberto Zapta, who pleaded guilty to felony child abuse and neglect, received a three-year prison sentence, with all but three months suspended.
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Staff Journalist
A Fairfax County man will spend three months in jail for the car crash-related death of his 6-year-old son last fall along Interstate 66 near Delaplane.

Fauquier Circuit Court Judge Jeffery W. Parker on Monday sentenced Jose Alberto Zapata, 27, of Chantilly to three years in prison on a felony charge of a child abuse and neglect — suspending all but three months. Judge Parker also placed Mr. Zapata on one year of supervised probation.

The Northern Virginia car sales manager in April pleaded guilty to the charge, which carried a penalty of up to 10 years in jail.

Mr. Zapata’s sentence began Monday, July 1. Pending the case’s outcome, he had remained free on a $15,000 bond.

As part of the plea agreement, Fauquier’s commonwealth’s attorney dropped an involuntary manslaughter count and a second child neglect and abuse count against Mr. Zapata. If convicted of those charges, he faced up to 10 years in prison for each felony. 

Driving a 2018 BMW sedan eastbound on I-66 just after noon on Oct. 14, Mr. Zapata swerved from the highway and struck a mile-marker sign, several trees and a fence before the vehicle stopped, according to the state police investigation.

He had driven at 111 mph just before the accident, according to the vehicle’s electronic data retrieval system.

While the boy wore a safety belt, he had not been secured in a car seat. Mr. Zapata told investigators that his son had not been in a car seat because the couple has only one, which remained in his wife’s vehicle.

A witness to the accident said he saw the vehicle “shoot off the road like a slingshot.”

The witness ran to the crash site to help. He took the child from the father, laid the boy on the ground nearby, checked for “vital signs” and concluded he “was unconscious.” He and the father waited for medics to arrive.

Flown to Inova Fairfax Hospital, the boy died there two days later.

It remains uncertain whether Mr. Zapata had been distracted just prior to the crash, which took place between 12:13 and 12:15 p.m. But cell phone records show that in the span of about six minutes before the crash, Mr. Zapata’s wife sent him a message; he responded, and then the couple had a four-minute phone conversation.

Mr. Zapata’s other son got injured in the wreck. An ambulance took the boy — 11 at the time — to Inova Fairfax, where the staff treated and released him.

Contact Don Del Rosso at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or 540-270-0300.
Member comments
Please, be polite. Avoid name-calling and profanity.
For credibility, sign your real name; stand behind your comments. Readers will give less credence to anonymous posts.
To comment, please log in or register.
DonkeyFarmer · July 7, 2019 at 8:25 pm
WHEN DID I SAY ANYTHING ABOUT RICH GETTING AWAY WITH MURDER!? This article is about Mr Zapata who killed his child driving recklessly. What are you bringing up Trump and Epstein for? And Mars? You seem like an angry jealous little man. Im not feeding you anymore.
Tony Bentley · July 7, 2019 at 6:37 pm
Donkey, so it's OK for the rich to get away with murder? How abut the rich getting away with or receiving a slap on charges of rape? My point is that money buys freedom and justice is being thrown under the bus!
DonkeyFarmer · July 6, 2019 at 5:27 pm
So you agree with my original post that the guy should have got more time.... Then what are you arguing with me about? You have some issue with the Mars lady apparently. You keep bringing her up and it has nothing to do with this story. Im sure there are countless criminals getting away with stuff. Should I bring them all up? What is your point? Or do you just like to argue because you are bored?
Mark House · July 6, 2019 at 9:43 am
I'm not giving this guy a pass, he should have served the 3 years in jail. Hope you or your loved ones don't have a run in with Ms. Mars when she "falls asleep" at the wheel again. OJ? He outright murdered his ex-wife and her boy-toy, and got away with it, different type of crime, but again assisted by high paid lawyers.
DonkeyFarmer · July 5, 2019 at 10:02 pm
Mark House i hope this guy driving at 111 mph and talking on his phone does not swerve into one of your loved ones.
DonkeyFarmer · July 5, 2019 at 9:56 pm
Mark House - both circumstances are outrageous. Do you think this guy should be let off for killing a child because someone from the Mars family was let off? I really dont see your point. OJ killed two people.. Should i bring that up every time someone escapes punishment?
Mark House · July 5, 2019 at 5:55 pm
I can imagine the family was well "compensated" by Mars Inc. for their forgiveness.

WHAT she fell asleep at the wheel and killed one woman and unborn child, and DID NOT SERVE ONE SECOND IN JAIL. Save you outrage Donkey Farmer for those that have lots of money to buy their way out of jail.
Mark House · July 5, 2019 at 5:47 pm
"One of the world's richest women will not serve any jail time for an accident authorities say resulted in the death of an 86-year-old woman.

Jacqueline Mars, a co-owner of the privately held candy company Mars Inc., entered the courtroom Thursday using a walker and pleaded guilty to reckless driving. The judge could have sentenced Mars to a year in jail for the misdemeanor charge, but three family members of victim Irene Ellisor read statements in court, forgiving Mars for the October accident and asking that she not be jailed.

The judge followed their request but ordered Mars to pay a $2,500 fine and suspended her license for six months.

"...t's important for this court and the families to know that I will always live with the grief and the loss caused by this tragedy," Mars said in court Thursday.

ALSO SEE: D.C. Police Officer Investigated for "Pimping" Teens
Ellisor's family embraced Mars -- whose father invented M&M's and the Mars bar -- in a private room after the judge followed their recommendation, reported News4's Northern Virginia Bureau Chief Julie Carey.

Court papers state that Mars told a witness she fell asleep at the wheel just before the crash in Aldie, Va. The sheriff's office says Mars' Porsche SUV crossed the center line and hit a minivan carrying six people, including Ellisor, of Huntsville, Texas. She died at the scene.

Epic Public Apologies: "I Am Not a Bully"[NATL] Epic Public Apologies
Driver Ashley Blakeslee, who was eight months pregnant at the time, was critically injured and lost her baby. The other four passengers in the minivan, along with Mars, were also hospitalized.

Doctors told Blakeslee that her unborn son, whom the family named Charlie, protected her from the brunt of the impact, saving her life."

WHAT she fell asleep at the wheel and kill one woman and unborn child, and DID NOT SERVE ONE SECOND IN JAIL. Save you outrage for those that have lots of money to buy their way out of jail.
DonkeyFarmer · July 5, 2019 at 5:25 pm
The guy looks high in the photo.
DonkeyFarmer · July 5, 2019 at 5:24 pm
What!!?? The guy was driving 111mph, talking on the phone, and killed his kid and he gets 3 months in jail? I don't want this guy on the roads ever again! Next time he could kill some other innocent driver. This judge needs to be recalled.
Truepat · July 5, 2019 at 12:12 pm
SMH, So this is what Parker values a child's negligent death, 3 months... happy retirement....
Facebook comments
Enter your email address above to begin receiving
news updates from via email.
Tuesday, October 15
Fauquier planning commission to consider special exception permits for “Sanctuary at Barrel Oak”
Tuesday, October 15
Big wooden letters depict Christmas trees, pumpkins, corn and tomatoes grown on Green family property
Monday, October 14
The Fauquier County Circuit Court clerk’s office recorded these real estate transfers Oct. 3-8, 2019
More Fauquier news
© Copyright 2011-2018

50 Culpeper Street, Suite 3
Warrenton, Virginia 20187
Crime Log
Add Your News
The Big Picture
Ellen’s Kitchen
and Garden

Real Estate
For Sale
Legal Notices
Post an Ad
Terms of Service