23-year old Franklin Walker, was taken into custody outside the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms after police say he fled the scene of a crash in Yucca Valley, early Saturday morning.
When they got to the scene, sheriff’s deputies found an abandoned 2015 Honda Civic that was “inoperable and had its airbags deployed” — according to The Desert Sun.
They say Walker was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the crash. He was not hurt in the accident and it’s unclear how he got back to the base.
Hwy 62 is a 150-mile road that runs from the Coachella Valley, through the High Desert, to the Arizona border. Since 2002, at least 182 people have been killed in crashes along that stretch of highway.
In a separate investigation by The Sun, it was determined that, between 2007 and early 2014, 66 Marines stationed or training at the base died on American soil, mostly in the High Desert. Twenty-eight of those deaths were caused by vehicle crashes.
Despite there being relatively light traffic on Hwy 62, officials say drivers are three times more likely to die here than on any other Calif. road. The Desert Sun uncovered dangerous hot spots — ‘where crashes strike with the greatest frequency’ — and investigated if there was any pattern behind these deaths.
They found that the stretch of roadway east of the city of Twentynine Palms, was the most dangerous. Most of the crashes involve single cars running off the roadway. Motorists tend to speed more than normal when they get into these open areas and with the freeway going east and west, the sun can blind drivers at certain times of the day. Officials say another reason for the unusually high number of crashes is that there’s “no margin for error” on this road.
There are plans to improve the highway, but according to Cal Tran, work will not begin until 2018 at the east end of the hwy., where the risk of death is the greatest.
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