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Camp Pendleton Marine charged in the deaths of 3 fellow Marines

By Christine Mai-Duc, Los Angeles Times –

LOS ANGELES — A 25-year-old Marine stationed at Camp Pendleton was charged Wednesday with drunken driving in an Orange County crash that left three fellow Marines dead.

Jared Ray Hale, 25, faces three felony counts of vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, with sentencing enhancement allegations for having a blood alcohol level of more than 0.15 percent and causing great bodily injury.

In the early morning hours of Feb. 14, prosecutors say, Hale drove away from a Dana Point bar with three friends in his Dodge Stratus. According to officials, the car was traveling at high speeds on Golden Lantern Drive near Terra Vista in Dana Point about 2 a.m., when Hale lost control of the car, which climbed the center median and wrapped itself around a tree.

Two Marines, 23-year-old Jeremiah Callahan of Nebraska and 21-year-old Christopher Arzola of Massachusetts, were pronounced dead at the scene.

Firefighters cut through the wreckage to rescue a third victim, Jason Chleborad of South Dakota, who later died at the hospital.

Hale, whose blood alcohol level was twice the legal limit, was rushed to the hospital where he was treated for brain trauma and a broken arm.

All four men had enlisted in the Marines in 2008, and were stationed at Camp Pendleton. Hale is now in a medical rehabilitation facility recovering from his injuries, and will be arraigned upon release.

Prosecutors are asking for $100,000 bail.

Just days before the crash, former Camp Pendleton Marine Andrew Stueber was convicted of drunken driving in an August 2009 crash that killed another Marine and injured two others.

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