US Marine, 19, Charged in North Carolina Crash That Killed 2 Servicemen

By Isabel van Brugen
Isabel van Brugen
Isabel van Brugen
Isabel van Brugen is an award-winning journalist. She holds a master's in newspaper journalism from City, University of London.
January 20, 2022Updated: January 20, 2022

A 19-year-old U.S. Marine has been charged over a fatal crash that killed two service members and wounded 17 others when a vehicle overturned near Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, officials said.

The North Carolina Highway Patrol identified the driver as Louis Barrera of Springfield, Tennessee. He has been charged with one count of exceeding a safe speed and two counts of misdemeanor death by motor vehicle, the North Carolina Department of Public Safety told Fox News.

The fatal crash occurred at the intersection of U.S. 17 and Highway 210 in Jacksonville around 1 p.m. on Wednesday, the state highway patrol said in a statement.

Seventeen passengers were ejected from the seven-ton military vehicle after the driver attempted to make a right turn at the intersection, it said.

“A second military vehicle being operated behind the initial vehicle was unable to come to a stop and struck one of the ejected passengers,” the statement added.

According to a statement from the 2nd Marine Logistics Group, all servicemen involved in the crash were in active duty and were based at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. They were with its II Marine Expeditionary Force, the statement said.

Two U.S. Marines were killed at the scene, the highway patrol said, noting that 17 were hospitalized, including two who were airlifted in critical condition to Vidant Medical Center in Greenville.

The other 15 servicemen are in stable condition at the Navy hospital at Camp Lejeune.

The victims of the crash haven’t been identified.

“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,” North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said in a statement on Twitter on Wednesday.

He added: “We are so proud of our military heroes at Camp Lejeune and across North Carolina. Our prayers go out to them.”

An investigation into the crash is underway, the highway patrol said. It said the driver appeared to be driving too fast to make the turn at the intersection.

The vehicle was a medium tactical vehicle replacement, often referred to as a “seven ton.” The military vehicle is used primarily for troop and equipment transportation purposes.

The 2nd Marine Logistics Group said it will continue to support local authorities “in the aftermath of this accident.”

“Our unit is grateful to all first responders that provided aid to our service members,” its statement said. “The cause of the rollover is under investigation.”