A U.S. Marine was charged on Wednesday over the rollover of a seven-ton military truck near Camp Lejeune, N.C., which resulted in the deaths of two Marines and injuries to 17 more.
19-year-old Louis Barrera of Springfield, Tenn., was the Marine allegedly behind the wheel at the time of the crash. An N.C. Department of Public Safety spokesperson told Fox News he was charged with exceeding a safe speed — which is believed to have caused the rollover — and two counts of misdemeanor death by motor vehicle.
The crash took place at around 1 p.m. EST at the intersection of U.S. 17 and Highway 210. The seven-ton truck, known as a medium tactical vehicle replacement (MTVR), was making a right-hand turn onto U.S. 17 when it lost control and rolled over and the Marines inside were thrown from the vehicle.
NC Highway Patrol Sgt. Devin Rich said Wednesday that investigators were looking at how fast the vehicle was moving at the time of the crash “but we do know it was a little too fast for the right turn.”
NC Highway Patrol also said a second military vehicle in the convoy couldn’t stop in time and struck one of the ejected passengers.
According to a press statement from the 2nd Marine Logistics Group (2nd MLG), the two deceased Marines were pronounced dead at the scene. Two Marines were transported to New Hanover Regional Medical Center in Wilmington, N.C., and were listed in critical condition. 15 Marines were transported to Naval Medical Center Camp Lejeune in stable condition.
The identities of the deceased have not yet been released and are being withheld pending next of kin notifications.
Highway Patrol and NCIS are continuing to investigate the crash.
Rollover incidents are not uncommon for military vehicles.
A U.S. Army soldier was killed in a vehicle rollover incident in Afghanistan in July 2020. Another soldier was killed in a vehicle rollover incident in Syria in January 2020.
Three soldiers were killed when their M2 Bradley fighting vehicle rolled off of a bridge at Fort Stewart, Georgia in October 2019.
A West Point cadet was also killed in a rollover accident in June 2019. The cadet was training with soldiers at Fort Stewart at the time. The Fort Stewart soldier who drove the vehicle was ultimately sentenced to three years in confinement for the cadet’s death and for the injuries to the 21 other passengers.
The number of military vehicle rollover incidents led Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL) to call on the military to reform its vehicle training in 2020.