Two U.S. Marines were killed and 17 others were injured Wednesday when their seven-ton military vehicle overturned while speeding around a bend near Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, authorities said.
The driver of the tactical vehicle attempted to make a right turn onto US Highway 17 from North Carolina Highway 210 in Onslow County as it rolled into the median just after 6 p.m. 13, according to the North Carolina State Highway Patrol.
Seventeen Marines sitting in the back of the vehicle were thrown out, the highway patrol said. Another military vehicle behind the tactical vehicle was unable to stop and hit one of the deployed Marines, the Highway Patrol said.
Two Marines were pronounced dead at the scene and two critically injured were taken to New Hanover Regional Medical Center in Wilmington, NC. The 15 other Marines who were wounded were taken to Naval Medical Center Camp Lejeune, where they were listed as in stable condition, Second Marine Logistics Group said in a statement.
The highway patrol said the "immediate cause" of the rollover was "exceeding a safe speed for the turn."
The agency said the driver of the tactical vehicle, Louis Barrera, 19, of Springfield, Tenn., Had been charged with one count of exceeding a safe speed and two counts of death in a motor vehicle.
The Marines involved were active members of the Second Marine Logistics Group, II Marine Expeditionary Force, which is based at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.
Second Marine Logistics Group said it would continue to support authorities while investigating the rollover.
It said the names of the two Marines who died were withheld until 24 hours after their relatives were notified. The names of the injured were detained in accordance with privacy rules, the unit said.
"Our unit is grateful to all first aiders who provided assistance to our service members," the statement said.
The vehicle that overturned was a Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacement, commonly referred to as a "seven-ton", which is mostly used for troop and equipment transport, Second Marine Logistics Group said.
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said he sends "our deepest condolences to the family and friends of the U.S. Marines who lost their lives in a tragic accident today in Onslow County."
"We are so proud of our military heroes in Camp Lejeune and across North Carolina," said Mr. Cooper on Twitter. "Our prayers go out to them."