Active-duty Marine charged in death of NC teen who aspired to join Marine Corps
JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) — A North Carolina teen who had just signed up for early enlistment in the Marine Corps was hit and killed by a truck driven by an active-duty Marine, officials and family members said.
The driver of the pickup truck, Master Sgt. Remi Rodriguez, 45, has been charged with DWI and felony hit and run, among other charges, the North Carolina State Highway Patrol said.
Joseph Daniel Collins, 17, of Jacksonville was killed in the Friday incident along Queens Creek Road in Onslow County, officials said.
Rodriguez was driving a Chevy pickup when he ran off the road to the right and hit a curve warning sign. After hitting the sign, troopers say he then hit a Collins, who was walking down the road.
Collins’ parents, Jennifer and Christopher Collins, said their son recently took the ASVAB test for entrance to the military and scored an 84, something his mother was very proud of, she told CBS North Carolina.
“He always wanted to be a Marine,” mother Jennifer Collins said in a phone interview.
The parents said also commented about the fact that an active-duty Marine was involved in the aspiring Marine’s death.
“But we have already forgiven him,” Christopher Collins said.
“Joseph was a loving and kind young man, who would do anything for anyone. He was a friend to all and he did not know a stranger,” his obituary said. “He loved life and loved to fish and hunt.”
Rodriguez, who is also charged with felony death by motor vehicle and careless and reckless driving, is part of the 2nd Marine Division, II MEF at Camp Lejeune. He enlisted on January 5, 1994, and is originally from Cook County, Illinois, according to Lt. Col. Michael Armistead, public affairs officer.
During his first court appearance on Monday, a judged raised Rodriguez’ bond to $100,000. His initial bond was set at $50,000.
Collins’ funeral will be held on Wednesday at 11 a.m. at Freedom Way Free Will Baptist. Burial will follow at Odum Family Cemetery. Jones Funeral Home is assisting the family.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to MADD, 5104 Western Blvd., Suite B, Raleigh, North Carolina 27606 or Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, The Cooper Center, 18251 Quantico Gateway Drive, Triangle, VA 22172.
— WNCT contributed to this report
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