Two Marines are still hospitalized and in stable condition after they were injured in a rollover at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, a Marine Corps spokesman confirmed.
On Jan. 19 a 7-ton with the 2nd Marine Logistics Group was transporting 19 service members “to and from training locations,” around the base when it rolled over on the highway near the Stone Bay area gate.
Two Marines, Lance Cpl. Jonathan E. Gierke, 19, from Lawrenceville, Georgia, and Pfc. Zachary W. Riffle, 18, from Kingwood, West Virginia, were both pronounced dead at the scene.
Another 17 service members were injured in the accident. The two most injured Marines were taken by helicopter to the New Hanover Regional Medical Center in Wilmington, North Carolina, Marine Corps Times previously reported.
It is those two Marines who are still receiving treatment at the hospital, 1st Lt. Kevin P. Stapleton told Marine Corps Times on Friday morning.
The driver of the vehicle, Lance Cpl. Luis Poncebarrera, motor transport operator with Combat Logistics Battalion 24, Combat Logistics Regiment 2, was arrested by the Onslow County, North Carolina, sheriff’s office immediately after the rollover.
The Marine is currently with his parent unit, Stapleton told Marine Corps Times. He has two court dates scheduled for March 8, according to an Onslow County District’s Attorney office spokeswoman.
He has been charged with two counts of misdemeanor death by vehicle and one count of exceeding a safe speed, she added.
In North Carolina misdemeanor death by vehicle comes with a maximum of 150 days in prison.
Despite the local charges the Naval Criminal Investigative Service has taken over the case, Jeff Houston, an NCIS spokesman told Marine Corps Times.
“We can confirm that NCIS has assumed primary jurisdiction and is conducting a thorough investigation to determine the facts surrounding the incident,” Houston told Marine Corps Times in a Friday email. “No charges have been filed and no arrests have been made at this time. Out of respect for the investigative process, NCIS will not comment further while the investigation remains ongoing.”
Stapleton said the Marine Corps has launched its own separate investigation into the deadly accident.
“We will release more information regarding the investigation at a more appropriate time in the future,” he said.