Joseph Howard Kestner

Joseph Howard Kestner

A Marion man will face charges in connection to the Sunday hit-and-run crash that claimed the life of a Chilhowie woman.

Virginia State Police Senior Trooper K.S. Chapman said 31-year-old Joseph H. Kestner was taken into custody without further incident late Wednesday evening.

The trooper said Kestner initially admitted to being inside the vehicle when it crashed, but denied being the driver. He told investigators that the driver had blacked out before crashing into the Riverside Road home. But Wednesday, Kestner admitted to being the only person inside the vehicle, Chapman said.

The crash happened just after 9 a.m. Sunday, when the gold 1993 Honda Accord ran off the road and crashed through 87-year-old Margaret Poe’s bedroom, killing her. The Honda crashed through four walls before it came to a rest protruding through the opposite end of the home.

The driver of the vehicle fled the scene, leaving the Honda behind inside the home.

Chapman said Thursday that the cause of the crash is still under investigation.

Kestner is charged with involuntary manslaughter, fatal hit-and-run and leaving the scene of an accident. He is currently being held at the regional jail in Abingdon without bond.

His criminal history includes several driving offenses in Smyth County including speeding, failure to obey highway marking and failure to drive on right side of the highway.

Margaret Poe’s son, Tom Poe, said the house where his mother had spent the last four-plus decades of her life is not salvageable and will need to be torn down.

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