JACKSONVILLe, ONSLOW COUNTY - In light of several car crashes that have killed local Marines in the last month, NewsChannel 12 talked to base officials and troopers about what can be done.
"The number one threat to our Marines outside of being in combat is in the local roadways, on our nation's highways due to motor vehicle accidents," said Stan Dutko, Camp Lejeune safety director.
Dutko is working to try to prevent these tragedies. Currently, Marines under the age of 26, regardless of rank, must take an annual driving course.
"The focus is on the risk that's identified with drinking and driving, and texting and driving, talking on their cell phone and driving -- any kind of distracted driving," Dutko said.
Sergeant David Oglesby with the North Carolina Highway Patrol says some Marines may not be listening. He says troopers constantly talk to different units about safety behind the wheel.
"We do this and then the same weekend or on the way up or back, we run into somebody in that unit we just talked to involved in a crash," Oglesby said.
Troopers responded to a deadly crash Saturday morning. They say Cherry Point Marine Octavius Thompson, 21, was driving drunk, ran past a stop sign and crashed into a concrete median. His passenger and fellow Marine, David Eugene Moore, 21, was killed.
A second crash Saturday afternoon left a Lejeune Marine dead after his Jeep ran off a bridge and into the river below. Two other Lejeune Marines were killed earlier in January after a wreck off Catfish Lake Road in Craven County.
"Even one Marine death to a motor vehicle accident is unacceptable," Dutko said. "So anything that we can do to prevent that, we're obligated to do that."
Dutko says there are also several remedial courses offered depending on what charges Marines face when it comes to traffic violations, on or off base.
The message for safety and prevention -- slow down, don't drink and avoid distractions.
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