The 18-year-old driver said the man riding in the passenger seat grabbed his head and pulled him away from the wheel, causing him to run off the road and crash.
The passenger, Brian C. Poe, 38, Trafalgar, was thrown from the vehicle and killed during the accident Wednesday afternoon.
The driver, Devin D. Fleener, 18, of Martinsville, was not injured. Police arrested him on a misdemeanor charge of minor consumption after a breath test showed he had alcohol in his system. Police also took a blood test, which is standard in a fatal accident, to test for alcohol and drugs.