A U.S. Marine in North Carolina has been charged in the death of two Marines after a military vehicle he was driving rolled over in a Wednesday afternoon crash on Highway 210 in Jacksonville, North Carolina.​ Seventeen additional Marine service members were injured. The crash occurred around 1 p.m. ET, as the military vehicle was attempting to turn onto U.S. 17, according to a press release from the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD).

The Marines involved were active-duty service members of the 2nd Marine Logistics Group based at nearby Camp Lejeune, a major amphibious assault training center, about 8 miles from the site of the fatal wreck. The injured troops were taken to the medical center at Camp Lejeune, and were listed in stable condition.

Louis Barrera, 19, of Tennessee, was reportedly charged with one count of exceeding a safe speed and two counts of misdemeanor death by motor vehicle. A court date for Barrera has not yet been set, according to the release.

The release also said, “The names of the deceased are being withheld until 24 hours after the notification of next of kin, and the name of the injured are being withheld in accordance with privacy regulations.”

The vehicle involved was known as a medium tactical vehicle replacement, or a 7-ton vehicle. It is mostly used to transport troops and equipment according to the DOD. It was carrying a number of Marines at the time of the crash.

The accident began when Barrera lost control while making a right turn, causing the vehicle to overturn, and in the process ejecting several of the Marines that were in the back of the truck out into the roadway, according to State Highway Patrol Sergeant Devin Rich. “At least one of the deceased soldiers was then struck by a follow-up military vehicle that was unable to stop in time,” Rich said.

The DOD stated that an investigation into the cause of the crash is underway, being conducted by State Police. It is unclear if drugs or alcohol played a factor at this time.

“The Highway Patrol’s Reconstruction unit is working with district troopers and in the process of doing measurements needed to attain an approximate speed that they were traveling. We do know that it was a little too fast for the right turn they were attempting to make,” Rich added. ​

A massive turnout from first responders followed. This included local sheriff’s deputies, state troopers, and military rescue workers from Camp Lejeune. 

Camp Lejeune is a training based focused on combat readiness. It is the largest Marine Corps base on the East Coast and occupies about 153,439 acres with 14 miles of beach on the Atlantic Ocean, according to the Department of Military and Veterans affairs.

Traffic was reportedly backed up for miles as crews worked to remove the overturned vehicle from the road. The highway was reopened approximately five hours after the crash.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper issued a statement on Facebook writing, “I send our deepest condolences to the family and friends of the U.S. Marines who lost their lives in a tragic accident today in Onslow County. We are so proud of our military heroes at Camp Lejeune and across North Carolina. Our prayers go out to them.”

North Carolina Senator Tom Tillis echoed a similiar sentiment on Twitter writing, “Susan and I are praying for the families of the Marines who were tragically killed in an accident at Camp Lejeune, and we are praying for the full recovery of the Marines who were injured. God Bless our service members who put their lives at risk every day to protect our nation.”

All of us at The DC Patriot send our heartfelt condolences and prayers to the family of these lost warriors.

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