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US soldier killed, 2nd injured in car crash in South Korea

Police car lights (Alexandru Cuznetov/Dreamstime/TNS)
August 24, 2022

A U.S. Army soldier stationed in South Korea was killed after the vehicle he was riding in struck a guardrail near Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek on Sunday morning. A second soldier, who was driving the vehicle, was being treated for injuries at Camp Humphreys on Monday.

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The Army identified the deceased soldier as 23-year-old Spc. Dajour Cleveland, in a statement provided to Stars & Stripes by Eighth Army spokesman Lt. Col. Neil Penttila.

Cleveland was a signal support systems specialist attached to the 94th Military Police Battalion, 19th Expeditionary Sustainment Command, at Camp Humphreys.

A Pyeongtaek Police investigator told Stars and Stripes that collision occurred on a curved, two-lane road at around 12:50 a.m. on Sunday. The investigator said the driver “appears to have not been turning well to the direction he wanted to go.”

Police responding to the crash scene reportedly found Cleveland outside the vehicle and unresponsive about 750 yards from the second soldier.

The investigator told Stars & Stripes that preliminary evidence indicated bad weather was not a factor in the crash. The investigator said local police took a blood sample from the driver and expect results within 10 days.

The investigator said local authorities detained the driver of the vehicle before turning him over to U.S. military police at Camp Humphreys. The transfer of custody was done in accordance with the status of forces agreement, which lays out law enforcement and other responsibilities shared between the U.S. military and local authorities in South Korea.

“We are fully cooperating with the Korean National Police to determine the cause of the traffic accident and thank first responders for their efforts at the scene,” Penttila added in his statement to Stars & Stripes.

Another U.S. Army soldier assigned to the Eight Army’s 19th Expeditionary Sustainment Command was killed, along with his wife and child in October when their car collided with a tow truck while driving near Camp Humphreys. Specialist Luis Taveras, 26, his wife Lisbeth, 30, and their child Luis were all killed.

The October crash reportedly occurred on a curve along a one-lane road about 40 miles south of Seoul.

The tow truck driver in that incident, a 27-year-old Korean man, sustained non-life threatening injuries.

“No words can accurately express the pain their friends and family are having to confront,” Brig. Gen. Steven Allen, the commander of the Eighth Army’s 19th Expeditionary Sustainment Command said at the time.

Taveras had served as a quartermaster and chemical equipment repairer and had been in the Army for four years at the time of his death.