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    After the Accident

    Welcome to Camp Pendleton: Provost Marshal’s Office

    Photo By Sgt. Andrew Cortez | Officer Samuel Reynoso, with the Provost Marshal’s Office, Security and Emergency...... read more read more



    Story by Capt. David Mancilla and Pfc. Broc Story

    Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton

    As the light of a new day slowly began to creep over the hills of Temecula, California, Staff Sgt. Johnathan Jones, an administration specialist working aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, jolted out of bed half awake; his alarm ringing mercilessly in the background. With little regard to his surroundings, Staff Sgt. Jones frantically scurried and stumbled across his small Southern California suburban home. Going through a morning routine in five minutes to what usually takes 35, Jones refused to be late to work, again.

    After blindly tossing his belongings into his pickup truck, he turned the ignition and painted two perfectly black tire marks on his driveway. His exhaust roared with reckless abandon as the defending sound shook the quaint little neighborhood; heralding the soundtrack of a mad-man behind the wheel.

    Threading in and out of traffic and chasing every yellow traffic light like a feral cat chasing a mouse, Jones, slammed his gas pedal at every opportunity with no regard to those around him. When Jones approached Camp Pendleton’s Fallbrook gate entrance, he slowed down just enough to appear normal, struggling to hide his anxiety from the sentry. After passing through the gate, and giving himself enough distance to be out of eyeshot, Jones slammed on the gas once more and zoomed down the long stretch of road. Eventually coming to T-intersection, Jones made a last-minute right turn paying little attention to the group of Marines running their PFT, until it was too late.

    With red and blue lights flashing all around, and paramedics carefully loading the remnants of what used to be Marines into the back of their ambulances, the world spun for Staff Sgt. Jones as he sat in the back of a police cruiser. His vision narrowed more and more as the minutes ticked by, watching the horror and twisted expressions of the group of survivors huddled on the side of the road comforting each other. What started as a routine workday aboard Camp Pendleton, ended in tragedy. Life would never be the same for those involved.

    According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, nearly 39,000 people died last year as a result of a motor vehicle crash in the United States alone. Sadly, scenarios like the one above are all too real and common across our nation, and more disturbingly, across our military installations. Excessive speeding and reckless driving are leading contributors to many of these collisions, many of which are preventable. Unfortunately, Camp Pendleton is not immune to these tragedies, needlessly losing Marines every year to this behavior. There is good news, however, as it is well within the power of all those who commute on and off base to curb these unfortunate accidents. In efforts to reduce the number of vehicle-related incidents on base, as well as promote safe driving behaviors, Camp Pendleton has stepped forward and taken action, updating its policies and increasing the consequences for those caught speeding on base. Operation Slow Down is a continuing effort to reduce speeding and reckless driving by increasing enforcement of speeding policies, as well as updating and enhancing a variety of traffic control measures and technologies.

    “Operation Slow Down is an ongoing campaign in an effort to alter unsafe driving behaviors across Camp Pendleton, resulting in safer roadways for all base residents and visitors,” said U.S. Marine Brig. Gen. Jason G. Woodworth, the commanding general for MCI-West, MCB Camp Pendleton. “Deadly driving accidents caused by speeding are devastating to the families of victims as well as the unit, making it crucial that Camp Pendleton Marines, sailors, and all motorists drive safely and adhere to the posted speed limits.”

    Since Operation Slow Down’s inception in November 2021, on base speeding policies have increased penalties for violators of Camp Pendleton’s posted speed limits. Speeding more than five miles over results in higher points than previously, while 16-20 mph over the posted speed limit is a three-month suspension of on-base driving privileges. Speeding 21-30 mph over the posted speed limit is a six-month suspension. Going 31 mph or more over the posted speed limit, as well as street racing or DUI, is a 12-month suspension.

    “In addition to stricter enforcement of base speeding regulations we are expecting more command involvement to ensure their Marines are driving safely, and not risking losing their on-base driving privileges; we are also buying more radar guns to help law enforcement officers increase enforcement” said Woodworth.

    Increased penalties for those caught speeding in construction, school, or housing areas, have also taken effect, with three-month suspensions for 5-10 mph over the posted speed limit and six-month suspensions beginning at 11 mph over.

    “This is entirely preventable and within our power to choose whether a fellow Marine goes home tonight.” said U.S. Marine Col. John Black, the commanding officer of Security and Emergency Services Battalion, MCB Camp Pendleton, when asked what he would say to every driver on base. “Please obey the speed limits and drive safely; we don’t want to see you, your loved ones, or anyone else aboard base killed or seriously injured. When that happens, you harm yourself, your family, your unit, and the Marine Corps’ operational readiness.”

    Camp Pendleton encourages all Marines, sailors, and various motorists to do their part and drive safely aboard the installation. Taking the appropriate safety measures while behind the wheel is the responsibility of all drivers, with small changes to driving habits resulting in an increase of overall safety for those who live and work on base. Driving at the appropriate speed limits may seem like a nuisance at times, but it could just be the deciding factor between life and death for your loved ones or the loved ones of another.



    Date Taken: 02.03.2022
    Date Posted: 02.03.2022 19:48
    Story ID: 413962
    Location: CAMP PENDLETON, CA, US 

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