Two Camp Lejeune-based Marines were killed in a single-vehicle crash that occurred either late Monday or Tuesday in North Carolina.
The N.C. Highway Patrol identified the driver of the car as Skyler D. Way, 19, of Gouvemeur, N.Y., and the passenger in the vehicle as Nicholas S. Buscarnera, 19, of Mastic Beach, N.Y. Both men Marines with 2nd Supply Battalion, Combat Logistics Regiment 25, 2nd Marine Logistics Group at Camp Lejeune, according to information from the base.
Steve Barrette, an officer with the U.S. Forest Service, discovered the vehicle upside down and partially submerged in a canal just off the dirt road around 10:25 p.m. on Tuesday. The Highway Patrol indicated the vehicle had been in the canal for some time.
The Highway Patrol in a release said the driver was exceeding a safe speed, lost control, ran off the dirt road to the left and overturned in the canal. The wreck happened near the Craven County-Jones County line.
Havelock Fire and Rescue personnel responding to the crash noted through radio transmissions the rough conditions of the dirt road near the crash scene.
Barrette told the Highway Patrol that he had earlier encountered some Marines on Catfish Lake Road looking for friends. The last known contact with those missing Marines was a phone call at 9:47 p.m. Monday.
Fire departments from Township Six and Havelock responded to the crash, and the Highway Patrol is continuing its investigation.
Catfish Lake Road stretches 16 miles between U.S. 70 in Craven County and N.C. 58 in Jones County, and cuts through the heart of the Croatan National Forest. About 12 1/2 miles of the road is dirt and gravel, and beyond recreational activities, the road is sometimes used as a shortcut between Havelock and Jacksonville.
But, the road has a history of fatal crashes, including one on April 17, 2011, in which a family of five was killed when their vehicle flipped into the roadside canal. That crash was the last fatal wreck on the road before Tuesday night, according to the Highway Patrol.
In a 10-year period from 2001 to 2011, the Highway Patrol reported 280 crashes on Catfish Lake Road and 10 fatalities, including a 2010 crash that killed two Cherry Point Marines when the driver lost control of the vehicle.
In 2010, Marine Corps Installations East banned Marines from driving on the road to commute between Cherry Point, and Camp Lejeune and New River, citing a high volume of crashes. Marines are permitted to drive on the road if they are in the national forest for recreational activities. The order came after a series of crashes that killed one Marine and injured others, including one critically.