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Young Marine Killed Crossing NYC Street During Fleet Week

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Police, military personnel investigate Fleet Week tragedy (credit: CBS 2)

Police, military personnel investigate Fleet Week tragedy (credit: CBS 2)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Fleet Week began with the impressive parade of ships, but its first day ended tragically for one young Marine.

A 22-year-old Marine visiting Manhattan for the first time was struck and killed Thursday by a car while crossing 12th Avenue. The Marine was hit  just before 1:00 a.m. as he was getting out of a cab with fellow servicemen at 12th Avenue and 49th Street.

Investigators said there is no indication he was intoxicated.

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The accident happened not far from Pier 88 where some of the ships taking part in Fleet Week are now moored. The Marine was returning to his ship, the USS Iwo Jima.

The young man was pronounced dead at the scene. Police officers and military personnel converged in the middle of the street to investigate the tragedy.

Marine Capt. Christopher Kupka said soldiers are briefed about what to watch out for while away from their ships.

“This is New York. [There are] a lot of vehicles, a lot of people, a lot of crosswalks. It’s just an unfortunate situation,” said Capt. Kupka, who hails from Westchester County.

It was a situation very similar to the 2003 accident that claimed that life of a Navy sailor who was struck and killed by a livery cab in Tribeca. Not surprisingly, Marines that CBS 2′s Jay Dow spoke with said Thursday morning’s fatal accident will make it difficult to focus on what is typically a joyous week.

“Yes, it does, but like I said, we’re here to show the city of New York what the military, Marine Corps and Navy team what it’s all about, so like I said, prayers go out to the family and friends, and it’s a tragic situation,” Marines Sgt. Christopher Perez said.

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Police said the 39-year-old driver of a 2003 silver Acura realized he struck someone and stopped a block later, called 911 and then walked back to the scene. The driver has not been charged.

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Investigators confirmed the Marine, who was in uniform, was crossing 12th Avenue when he was struck. At 49th Street, there is no crosswalk.

“This is a sad day for the Marine Corp, and our thoughts and prayers are with the family of this Marine,” Col. Frank Donovan, commander of the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit base at Camp Lejeune, NC, said at a morning briefing near the pier.

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The Marine’s name was withheld pending family notification.

The Corps has not disclosed funeral arrangements for their fallen Marine.

PHOTO GALLERY: Fleet Week 2011

There are some 3,000 military servicemen in the city for Fleet Week, which runs through June 1.

Can more be done to make the city safer for visiting military personnel? Sound off in our comments section below…

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