A young Marine died Tuesday after his vehicle was struck by a pickup truck driver allegedly fleeing police, driving the wrong way on the highway, the Marine Corps confirmed.
Lance Cpl. Matthew Adams, 19, from Orem, Utah, was an automotive maintenance technician assigned to 1st Transportation Support Battalion, Combat Logistics Regiment 1, based at Camp Pendleton California, a Marine Corps spokesman told Marine Corps Times in an email Thursday.
His car was struck by a black pickup truck driving the wrong way on Interstate 5, just south of Camp Pendleton, an Oceanside Police Department spokesman told Marine Corps Times Thursday.
The truck, driven by 42-year-old Christian Zurita, police say, originally was stopped by Oceanside police for minor traffic violations. When the officers left their vehicle to talk to the driver, he allegedly drove off and quickly turned onto the I-5, driving the wrong way down the highway.
After the truck took off, the Oceanside police officers backed off the pursuit and had a helicopter follow the truck, the police department spokesman said.
After only a short flee attempt, Zurita reportedly crashed his truck head on into Adams.
Both Adams and Zurita were pronounced dead on the scene, NBC San Diego first reported.
Adams joined the Marine Corps in July 2019, and his awards included the National Defense Service Medal and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, a press release from the 1st Marine Logistics Group said.
“Our hearts are with the Marines and Sailors of 1st Transportation Support Battalion, and we extend our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of our Marine,” Brig. Gen. Bobbi Shea, the 1st Marine Logistics Group commanding general, said in the release.
“We will dedicate all necessary resources to provide help and comfort to those affected by this tragedy."