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Officials charge Marine in alleged DUI deaths of three Marines in Dana Point

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The alleged driver of the car was the only Marine to survive that night. He had suffered head trauma and sustained a broken arm. The man was knocked unconscious in the crash. Authorities claim that alcohol tests taken after the crash indicate that the man tested for a 0.16 percent blood alcohol level.

The Marine has now been formally charged with three counts of vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated without gross negligence. Prosecutors are also reportedly seeking sentencing enhancements in the felony DUI criminal case.

Military and civilian witnesses who were at the tavern where the four Marines are believed to have spent more than three hours the night of the crash say that the man accused of drunk driving had not been drinking that night. The witnesses reportedly say that the 25-year-old man accused of drinking and driving was the designated driver.

The man has sought legal counsel, who says that the horrible accident was the result of rainy weather, wet roads and hydroplaning. The DUI defense is expected to challenge the reliability and legality of the alcohol tests allegedly taken on the night of the accident when the Marine was taken-- unconscious --to the hospital.

No arraignment date has been scheduled on the felony DUI charges. Prosecutors say that they intend to request $100,000 bail. The Marine is currently in a medical rehabilitation facility recovering from the accident.

Source: The Orange County Register, "Driver charged in deaths of three fellow Marines," Sean Emery and Salvador Hernandez, June 13, 2012

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