NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. — A U.S. Marine and son of a Falls police officer died in a freak accident on a California highway Saturday morning.
Richard "Ricky" Jones, 20, the son of Falls Police Lt. Dan Jones, was killed when he was apparently hit by a car and fell 20 feet onto an underpass, while trying to help a victim of an earlier traffic accident.
News of the fatal accident rippled through Falls police headquarters on Monday.
"We're stunned," Police Superintendent Bryan DalPorto said. "Dan has been on the job a long time and most of us remember Ricky as a little kid. Our hearts go out to the Jones family."
A volunteer firefighter with the Frontier Volunteer Fire Co. in Wheatfield and U.S. Marine military police officer, Jones was stationed in San Diego. He and another marine were involved in a multiple-vehicle chain reaction accident, at about 5 a.m., on Interstate 8 in the Mission Valley.
According to NBC News in San Diego, Jones and his friend were driving in a pickup truck, and on their way back to the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, when they hit a vehicle that was stopped in the middle of the freeway. The surviving marine said he and Jones got out of the truck to help the driver of the car that they and two other vehicles had just collided with.
As they were attempting to aid that driver, the marine said he had to jump over a guardrail to avoid yet another oncoming vehicle. The marine landed on a highway underpass about 20 feet below.
Jones' body was also found on that underpass. It's not clear whether he had also tried to jump the guardrail or was hit by the oncoming car.
Three other people involved in the accident were taken to local hospitals with minor injuries.
DalPorto said Jones' mom and dad were "so proud of what Ricky accomplished." He said Jones' body is expected to be returned to the Falls next week.
A funeral with both full military and police honors is expected.