From OC Register
“HE NEVER APOLIGIZED OR TOOK RESPONSIBLILTY…”
A former Camp Pendleton Marine sergeant convicted of killing three other servicemen in a drunken-driving crash was sentenced Friday to more than a decade in prison, as an Orange County Superior Court judge denied his request for treatment rather than time behind bars.
Jared Hale, 27, told Judge Terri K. Flynn-Peister that for the rest of his life he will have to live with the loss of Sgt. Jeremiah Callahan, 23; Cpl. Christopher Arzola, 21; and Cpl. Jason Chleborad, 22, all of whom suffered fatal injuries in the 2012 crash in Dana Point.
“It’s been a rough five years,” Hale said, his voice unsteady with apparent emotion. “But there is just not much left of me, honestly.”
Hale still denied that he had had more than one drink of alcohol the day of the crash, when he was supposed of Marines during a night out at Hennessey’s Tavern. He claimed his elevated blood alcohol level – which was found after the crash to be more than twice the legal driving limit – may have been the result of binge drinking the night before.
Arguing that Hale’s drinking was an attempt to self-medicate in order to cope with post-traumatic stress disorder from his experiences in heavy combat in Sangin, Afghanistan, attorney William Paparian asked the judge to allow Hale to receive a shorter jail sentence followed by two years of alcohol-addiction treatment at a local facility. Paparian cited a state law that asks courts to consider whether the offense was committed as a result of trauma or injury from service in the military.
Flynn-Peister was unconvinced. While she noted that it was a “tragic case,” the judge said Hale had taken advantage of a position of trust due to his rank among the Marines, and noted that because of his blood alcohol content, Hale must have been drinking the day of the crash.
“The court does not find his story plausible or believable,” the judge said.
A half-dozen family members of the three Marines who died in the crash submitted victim impact statements that were read in court prior to Hale’s sentencing. Several asked for Hale to receive the maximum sentence, while most claimed that he had never apologized or taken responsibility for the crash.
“Mr. Hale failed his Marines that night in epic proportions,” wrote Austin Chleborad, Jason’s brother, who is also a Marine….MORE
From Los Angeles Times
A 25-year-old Marine stationed at Camp Pendleton was charged Wednesday with drunk 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% 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. …MORE
Alcohol abuse in military worse than ever —
“Alcohol abuse in the active-duty military is a bigger problem now than I’ve ever seen before,” says Bill Rider, president/CEO of American Combat Veterans of War (ACVOW), a non-profit organization that provides a wide variety of services for active-duty military and combat veterans making the transition to civilian life. He tells The Daily Beast that many Marines “drink during the day now, while on duty. It’s become very common.”
Rider, a retired Marine and Vietnam combat veteran who is independent but has an office at Camp Pendleton as well as at the San Diego Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), calls the incident in Dana Point “tragic but not surprising. We see Marines with drinking problems here (at ACVOW) every day. This terrible situation reflects an absolute failure of leadership. All the branches have abdicated their responsibility and turned this problem over to mental health professionals, who don’t really have answers, either. They’re just taking shots in the dark as to how to control drinking in the military.” ….MORE