SANTA ANA (CNS) - A 25-year-old Marine was charged Wednesday with three felony counts of vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated for a crash in Dana Point that killed three of his Marine friends.
Jared Ray Hale also facing sentencing enhancements for allegedly driving with a blood alcohol level higher than .15 percent and causing great bodily injury, said Deputy District Attorney Nancy Hayashida.
The victims were Sgt. Jeremiah Callahan, 23, of Chadron, Neb.; Cpl. Christopher Arzola, 21, of Westfield, Mass.; and Cpl. Jason Chleborad, 22, of Rapid City, S.D. All three were data network specialists who enlisted in the Marine Corps in 2008.
Hale and his three friends, who were stationed at Camp Pendleton, went to Hennessey's Tavern in Dana Point the night of Feb. 13, Hayashida said.
About 1:50 a.m., Feb. 14, Hale and his friends left the bar and got into a Dodge Stratus, with Hale driving, Hayashida said.
Hale was driving north on Golden Lantern Street in Dana Point when he lost control of the car about 2 a.m. at a curve in the road at Terra Vista, Hayashida said. The car slammed into a tree, killing the three victims.
Callahan and Arzola were pronounced dead at the scene and Chleborad was pronounced dead soon after arriving at Mission Hospital.
Hale, who is still being treated in a medical rehabilitation facility, was treated for brain trauma and a broken arm, Hayashida said. About 90 minutes after the crash, his blood alcohol level was measured at .16 percent, twice the legal limit, the prosecutor added.
Callahan and Chleborad served together in Afghanistan from September 2010 to March 2011, according to Camp Pendleton officials.
Callahan earned the Combat Action Ribbon, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon and NATO ISAF Afghanistan Medal.
Arzola held the Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal and Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.
Chleborad earned the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Combat Action Ribbon, Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon and NATO ISAF Afghanistan Medal.