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Alcohol, Unsafe Speed Blamed in Deadly Marine Crash

Three Marines were killed when their car slammed into a tree early Tuesday morning. The surviving Marine is in extremely critical condition.

Alcohol and unsafe speed were the primary causes of a Dana Point crash that killed three Camp Pendleton-based U.S. Marines and left a fourth serviceman fighting for his life, a sheriff's spokesman said today.

The rain-slick roadway was a lesser contributing factor to the crash that occurred at 2:05 a.m. Tuesday, said Jim Amormino of the Orange County Sheriff's Department.

A make-shift memorial has been placed at the scene that lies directly on the border of Laguna Niguel and Dana Point where well-wishers have been leaving flowers and other items to honor the men.

Amormino said the lone survivor, who was behind the wheel, remains in extremely critical condition at Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo.

The Marines were in a Dodge Stratus that crashed into a tree at Golden Lantern Street just past Terra Vista. It took firefighters about 20 minutes to cut through the wreckage to get to the servicemen, who were all in their early 20s, according to Orange County Fire Authority Capt. Marc Stone.

The two men in the back seat were declared dead at the scene, and the driver and another man in the front passenger seat were taken to Mission Hospital, where the passenger was pronounced dead shortly after arrival.

The Stratus was northbound on Golden Lantern at a high rate of speed when the driver lost control of the car, which hit a curb before slamming into a tree just past Terra Vista, Amormino said.   The names of the victims were expected to be released late this afternoon by military officials.

Jennifer February 16, 2012 at 02:02 PM
You are an ignorant suck. My son is a friend and marine brother to those boys. They protected you and yours on the front for months. How do you even have the nerve to post a comment like that. You are clearly a messed up individual.
Douglas Martin February 16, 2012 at 04:37 PM
I have no sympathy for the driver of the car. If he was going so fast that the impact killed three people (and possibly himself), then he was clearly endangering the community. Did he blow a red light at Stonehilll? Was he about to run a red light at del Avion? So sad, such a tragedy; but it could have been much worse. I have worked at both trauma centers near the base (Mission and Palomar), and I'm reminded weekly that some Marines make poor choices. There is NO excuse for what this young Marine did. Condolences to the families.
D.M. February 16, 2012 at 04:42 PM
SC Resident...move out of our town. We don't need your kind here. These Marine's are no different than any other human being. And why are you so down on Marines? Are you willing to enlist and serve your country? Someone has to! Yes, the driver made a grave mistake and this he will have to live with the rest of his life if he survives. I do not tolerate drinking and driving nor excessive speed but my heart goes out to the families of these young men regardless. They are grieving like any other parent or loved one would.
Geri February 16, 2012 at 07:21 PM
The surviving driver needs our prayers. If he survives he will have to live with this the rest of his life. I'd like to know who served them the alcohol and turned them loose at 2am to drive home. Several bars in that area come to mind. God bless these young men and God Bless the Marines.
Gerri M. February 16, 2012 at 10:06 PM
I just read these 4 Marines belong to 3/5 Darkhorse who suffered the most casualties in Afganistan in 7 months We need to hope This 4th Marine can make it none of these Marines deserve such a short life Even in my days guys street raced and drove after a drink quit condemming these guys our goverment didnt bring them home after they suffered 26 deaths in their group in 4 months all these guys are hurting now we have to add 3 more brave Marines to the list My prayers are with the 4th marine and the 4 families Yes I am a mom of a Marine.

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