Young Marine Killed Crossing NYC Street During Fleet Week

Driver Stops, Calls 9-1-1; Officials: No Alcohol Involved

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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  • jtorres

    People are faulting the driver or the Marine. There’s a reason they are called “accidents” The Marine wasn’t from NY and unfamiliar with the streets and the dangers of crossing 12th Ave. And the driver was not breaking any laws, The young man stepped into the path of his car. N matter how fast (or slow) he was going, you can’t stop a 4,000 lb car on a dime. He stopped, called the authroties and probably feels horrible. Pray for peace for both of them. Semper Fi.

    • christina

      I agree. My first thoughts were “it’s not the drivers fault”. As a New Yorker, most of us know the dangers of crossing the West Side Highway. Cars are going very fast. He was from Texas, he wasn’t aware of the danger of the busy street. No one is to blame, it was a horrible accident. And living with the guilt of killing someone accidentally will haunt the driver forever.

  • wally

    with all these serviceman on the streets you’d think they’d drive cauciously……no………It woudl be different though if it was their kid out on the townb trying to enjoy him/herself eh ? you’d want someone to look out for you, but you have no intention to care for anyone else………no ! I’t’s not new york, It’s you the driver………..Hold him accountable !!
    I wonder if her has anything against marines ??

    • paul sniffen

      a better NYPD presence near the ships this weekend will help protect everyone.

      the speed limit needs to be reduced and enforced.

  • p,,, &

  • Sandy

    Stop the arguing, patronizing, belittling, and and acting like boys on the school grounds. We have lost a young man who, being a Marine, was willing to give up his life for his country and you! He made a bad judgement call and paid with his life, and it makes me very sad as a mother to know his family has lost a dear young man. Honor him and your Country and grow up and act like men with honor and civility! May he Rest In Peace, and watch out for his fellow Marines from on high!

  • Ernest

    In the next week while fleet week takes place all cab drivers should take the time to drop off all military personel on the south bound side of 12th ave. Especially when the cab driver knows the person may not be from nyc. Take a few extra minutes to show some gratidude for thier service to this country please.

    • Sandy

      Great idea. Hope someone puts that to work!

  • lieut dan's aunt

    how tragic. a young man serving his country, and his life cut short in this fashion. i mourn his death, and offer prayers for his family and marine brothers & sisters. perhaps instead of taking cabs, some of nyc’s businesses could step up now & in the future and supply shuttle buses to take those given shore leave around town. it may save a life. this would also save these young people from out of town being ripped off by unscrupulous cabbies (my dad, nypd retired) was in the hack bureau – and we all know there are a few of them out there.) the real story is the loss of a fine young man. semper fi!

  • nyc

    Sad tradegy. 12th ave is the wrong place to be walking around. Very sad for the serviceman and his family ! I still can’t understand how the driver that hit him didn’t see him ? Seems it could have been prevented !

  • TivToo

    Wow thats really messed up dude, crossing the street? Wow.

  • M. Walton

    Sadly this type of attitude is what causes so much resentment against our servicemembers. They put their dreams on hold and they put their lives on the line every day for people they don’t even know. Talk to some veterans and ask them what they did for you maybe then you will appreciate them. It’s not that they are better, I know many that certainly are not better, but they are protecting us and for that they are our heroes. Your comments sound like something off a liberal news outlet like CNN.

  • LindaInNY

    & you’re an a$$

    • LindaInNY

      sorry, somehow this got detached…it was in reply to the person that said we worship the military & are all brainwashed…..

  • M. Walton

    I was on USS Normandy in 2003 when we lost that sailor in a car accident. It was a pretty sad day for the ship. My heart goes out this young mans family and division in the marines and his navy friends as I assume he was stationed on a gator freighter. Hate to see the streets of NYC claim another servicemember. Ty to all our military for keeping us safe.

    • Erik Miller

      I was on the Normandy in 1997 as part of Helo detachment from HSL-48. THe greatest times of my life. Cheers mate from AT2! This is a sad story. My heartfelt condolences to the family.

    • JasonS

      The sailor in question, who died on Leonard Street in 2003, was running away because he had just stolen the hat of an old homeless guy named Forrest, who was sitting out in the rain. He stole it as a prank and ran away and slipped on a rain slicked road under the wheels of a cab.

  • RWD

    KP .. my guess is that you didn’t have a father ergo your worship and need of authority in your life. I forgot to mention my dad was at Cal Tech at age 17 and then onto Cambridge at 18 and had 140 IQ ..MD, PhD and yes I had respect for him. Next.

  • KP

    You have no respect, of course there are no charges pending either…it’s not like the young Marine ran into traffic.

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