Marines killed in Onslow County military truck crash identified

Troopers confirm two Marines dead in military truck crash in Onslow County
Published: Jan. 21, 2022 at 7:51 AM EST|Updated: Jan. 21, 2022 at 2:24 PM EST
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ONSLOW COUNTY, N.C. (WITN) - The two Marines who were killed in a military truck crash have been identified.

The Marine Corps announced Lance Corporal Jonathan Gierke, 19, from Lawrenceville, Georgia and Private First Class Zachary Riffle, 18, from Kingwood, West Virginia were both killed. They were assigned to the 2nd Marine Logistics Group, which is based at Camp Lejeune.

Lance Corporal Jonathan Gierke | Private First Class Zachary Riffle
Lance Corporal Jonathan Gierke | Private First Class Zachary Riffle(U.S. Marine Corps)

The crash happened Wednesday afternoon at the intersection of U.S. 17 and Highway 210, which is between Verona and Holly Ridge.

The Highway Patrol charged 19-year-old Louis Barrera, of Springfield, TN with one count of exceeding a safe speed and two counts of misdemeanor death by motor vehicle.

The Marine Corps issued the following statement,

The 2nd Marine Logistics Group says in the addition to the two deaths, two Marines were taken to New Hanover Regional Medical Center in Wilmington, where they are listed in critical condition, and 15 Marines were taken to Naval Medical Center Camp Lejeune and are in stable condition.

Troopers say a second military vehicle was behind the 7-ton truck and could not stop once it crashed, causing it to hit one of the Marines.

Onslow County sent multiple rescue units to the scene, while Camp Lejeune says that base fire and emergency services provided support. Ambulances also came from Pender and Jones counties.

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