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Marine Charged with DUI in Crash that Killed Three Comrades

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 accordingly.