A New York Marine veteran who survived the Iraq War was killed on his 34th birthday this Saturday, one of twenty killed in a horrific accident.
Michael Ukaj was in the back of a SUV limo outside of Albany when the driver of the limo failed to stop at an intersection, slamming into a Toyota SUV that was unoccupied.
Fatalities included the driver, seventeen passengers, and two pedestrians, making it the deadliest US traffic accident in nearly a decade.
One of the last to be identified, Ukaj had enlisted in the Marines at age 17, deploying to Iraq later in his career. According to Military.com, he had celebrated his 21st birthday in the country, hiding under a table during a mortar attack.
On Facebook, Ukaj’s mother spoke of her pride towards her now-deceased son.
“We love you and miss you, our dear baby boy,” she wrote. “You were such an inspiration when you wanted to join the Marine Corps! Thank you for your combat service, and for being my son. I love you forever.”
Others killed include Axel Steenburg, Richard Steenburg, Scott Lisinicchia, Amy Steenburg, Allison King, Mary Dyson, Robert Dyson, Abigail Jackson, Matthew Coons, Savannah Bursese, Patrick Cushing, Amanda Halse, Erin McGowan, Shane McGowan, Amanda Rivenburg, Adam Jackson, Rachael Cavosie, Brian Hough and James Schnurr.
Ukaj was described by family members as “just a very happy” person who enjoyed life.
The incident is under investigation.
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