In Santa Ana, California, a Camp Pendleton Marine with the initials J.H.
got behind the wheel intoxicated, and his decision rendered disastrous
results. The 25-year-old was at Hennessey’s Tavern in Dana Point
with his three friends, but the group never designated a safe and sober
driver to take them back to the military base. While inhibited by alcohol,
J.H. offered to drive. Because of his blurred vision and loss of clear
thought, he wasn’t able to operate his vehicle safely. At one point,
he lost control and the car hurdled towards a tree. The impact kills three
Marines: 21-year-old Christopher Arzola, 22-year-old Jason Chleborad,
and 23-year-old Jeremiah Callahan. The families of these three lost soldiers
were devastated that their sons did not perish in a noble fight, but in
a drunken ride home from a party.
J.H. experiences brain trauma and a broken arm in the crash, and will face
charges for his actions. If he is convicted of three counts of vehicular
manslaughter for driving under the influence, he faces up to 10 years
in prison. He is in a medical rehabilitation facility at present, and
his trial will be underway once he is back in good health. The Orange
County District Attorney’s Office says that J.H. had a BAC of 0.16.
That’s twice the legal limit. Police hope that the Marine has learned
his lesson after seeing the devastating and shameful effects that his
choice had on the families of the deceased Marines and the staff and soldiers
at Camp Pendleton. J.H.’s career in the armed forces may be hampered
by his decision, but Camp Pendleton has chosen to determine what they
will do about the man once he is out of the hospital and has been sentenced