The U.S. Marine killed Saturday morning in a chain reaction-type crash along Interstate 8 in San Diego has been identified as a former New York volunteer firefighter.
Ricky Jones, 20, died in the multi-vehicle accident, according to a member of the Frontier Volunteer Fire Company in Niagara County, New York. Jones volunteered for that department before being stationed in San Diego as an active duty Marine.
The crash that led to his death happened just after 5 a.m. along westbound I-8 at the State Route 163 interchange in the Mission Valley area.
CHP officials said a woman was driving a Honda Civic on westbound I-8 when, for unknown reasons, she lost control, striking a nearby barrier before coming to a halt in the middle of the freeway. Shortly thereafter, officials said three other cars slammed into the Honda in a chain reaction.
According to CHP officials, one of those vehicles, a Ford truck, was occupied by two Marines -- Jones and another man -- who were headed to the Marine Corps Recruit Depot (MCRD). After colliding into the wreckage, the Marines got out of their truck and walked over to the woman in the Honda to help.
One of the Marines told CHP investigators that, at one point, another oncoming vehicle approached the scene and he quickly moved out of the way by jumping over the freeway barrier. He landed in some ice plants about 20 feet below on the SR-163 underpass.
The Marine told investigators that he didn't know whether Jones tried to do the same thing, or if he was fatally struck by the oncoming vehicle. Either way, Jones also landed along the SR-163.
He died at the scene. CHP officials said the Jones' body was found along the underpass, just beneath the site of the I-8 crash.
CHP officials said the accident remains under investigation. They are still trying to determine whether Jones was struck by a car or if he jumped and fell to his death while trying to dodge the vehicle. Investigators are also trying to determine in what order the vehicles collided in the Honda.
The fatal collision shut down part of I-8 and SR-163 early Saturday morning as officials cleared the scene and collected evidence.
Two other people, including the surviving Marine, were transported to Scripps Mercy Hospital in Hillcrest with injuries. The surviving Marine suffered body aches, but CHP officials said his injuries did not appear life-threatening.
Additionally, two young boys riding in one of the other vehicles were taken to Rady Children’s Hospital with minor injuries, including a cut to the head.