ONSLOW COUNTY - A New River Marine was killed after sliding under a parked car while riding his motorcycle, said investigators.
According to the Highway Patrol, 24-year-old LCpl. Loron Joshua Melton was performing a burnout in the parking lot of Coastal Plains Raceway, at 4744 Richlands Highway northwest of Jacksonville, Saturday evening.
But at about 6 p.m., Melton lost control, laid down his motorcycle, and hit three parked cars, going underneath one of the vehicles, troopers said.
Melton, who was wearing a helmet, died at Onslow Memorial Hospital, said investigators.
Family members told NewsChannel 12 Melton had just finished competing at the raceway earlier that day. They said Melton was talking with his wife, 4-year-old daughter and mother-in-law, then went to park his bike to let it cool down. That was when the accident happened, family said.
Best friend and cousin Michael Blakley said Melton really enjoyed riding motorcycles and cars.
"He was a real easygoing person. He wasn't hard to get along with, always helpful. I just can't believe he is gone so fast," Blakley said.
Melton also loved serving his country, said Blakley. Melton became a New River Marine about three years ago.
"As a kid, he use to always talk about he wanted to be a Marine. Once he graduated and everything, I was like,'You a soldier now," Blakley recalled.
Family said Melton's world was his 4-year-old daughter and his wife. In fact, Melton and his wife were high school sweethearts and had been together for more than ten years, said Blakley.
"I can say this, he brought a lot of joy to a lot of people. He may be gone but never forgotten," Blakley said.
Melton was originally from New York.