CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. (WNCT) — A Marine has been acquitted in the fatal vehicle crash that killed two Marines and injured 17 others on Jan. 19, 2022.
MarineCorpsTimes.com reported that Lance Cpl. Luis Ponce-Barrera of Springfield, Tenn., was found not guilty on all counts last week. He was charged at the time with exceeding safe speed and two counts of misdemeanor death by motor vehicle, according to the NC State Highway Patrol.
Camp Lejeune issued a statement to WNCT’s Claire Curry on Monday that confirmed the outcome.
“On 12 April 2023, Lance Cpl. Ponce-Barrera was found not guilty of all charges. II MEF and 2nd MLG continue to offer our condolences to the Marines and families affected by this tragedy,” LtCol Josh Diddams said in the statement.
The crash happened in the area of US Hwy. 17 and NC Hwy. 210 in Onslow County, about eight miles from Camp Lejeune, around 1 p.m. on Jan. 19. Troopers investigating the crash said the military truck overturned after attempting a right turn onto US Hwy. 17 from NC Hwy. 210. It overturned into the median of US 17.
There were 19 Marines with 2nd Marine Logistics Group II Marine Expeditionary Force in the vehicle, 17 of who were ejected during the crash. A second military truck that was behind the one that overturned was unable to stop in time and struck one of the Marines that was ejected, troopers said.