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3 Camp Pendleton Marines dead, 1 critical after Orange County crash

Dana Point crash
Three Marines were killed and one was hospitalized in critical condition after the car they were in struck a tree in Orange County, the Sheriff's Department said Tuesday.

The car, a 2005 Dodge Stratus, was moving at a high speed northbound on Golden Lantern Street in Dana Point at 2:05 a.m. Tuesday when it lost control near Terra Vista.

All four Marines were stationed at Camp Pendleton.

Two Marines who were passengers were killed instantly, said Orange County sheriff's spokesman Jim Amormino, and a third later died at Mission Hospital. The driver, also a Marine, is in critical condition and in intensive care, Amormino said.

No other cars were involved in the crash.

MAP: Crash location

"Speed appears to be a factor and we're looking into whether or not alcohol is a factor," Amormino said.

Names of the dead Marines were withheld pending notification of family members.

The Dana Point crash was the second fatal traffic accident in Southern California involving enlisted Marines in the past two days.

Cpl. Pedro Conceicao, 24, stationed at the Marine air station in Yuma, was killed Sunday in a rollover accident at about 3:25 a.m. in the Mission Valley area of San Diego. The driver, Cpl. Ashley Maya, 21, was unable to negotiate the turn from Highway 163 to eastbound Interstate 8.

Conceicao and another passenger were ejected from the vehicle. Maya, also stationed in Yuma, was arrested by the California Highway Patrol on suspicion of drunk driving and vehicular manslaughter. Maya was unhurt, according to the CHP.

Conceicao had deployed to Afghanistan.

This month has been difficult for the Marines.

Last week, Marine Sgt. Manuel Loggins Jr. was shot and killed by an Orange County sheriff's deputy at a dark San Clemente high school parking lot before dawn, as his two daughters, age 9 and 14, sat in his SUV.

The Sheriff's Department said the deputy was fearful that Loggins was about to drive off with the girls, and feared for the safety of the girls because Loggins appeared to be acting irrationally.

A former commanding officer said Loggins routinely went to the school during the early morning with his daughters to walk the track and read the Bible.

Loggins, 31, had received three good-conduct medals, a Navy and Marine Corps achievement medal and a Korean defense service medal, the Marine Corps said.

ALSO:

Teacher's aide in South L.A. arrested on suspicion of sex crime

Search on for man who barricaded himself in Van Nuys home

Boy who committed suicide at school left note, authorities say

-- Tony Perry in San Diego and Rong-Gong Lin II

Photo: The scene of the crash in Dana Point. Credit: KTLA-TV

 
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