Frequent deployments and unpredictable defense funding since 9/11 has forced the Armed Services to make do on less. Most of the vehicles currently being used by soldiers today are older than the servicemen who utilize them. The newer vehicles suffer from a shortage of parts. Constant maintenance being done by fewer and fewer troops mean that training is often pushed back or canceled. All of this may be behind a spate of military vehicle rollovers that have claimed five lives and injured 43 American troops. In one of those accidents, a soldier is facing criminal charges as the New York Times reports.
The accident occurred on June 6th when a light-medium tactical vehicle was transporting West Point Cadets to a training area located about 8 miles from the West Point campus.
During the journey, the vehicle overturned, injuring 21 soldiers on their way to a summer training exercise. 22-year-old cadet Christopher J. Morgan died at the scene of the accident. Morgan was expected to graduate next year. He was a member of the academy’s wrestling team.
The driver of the vehicle, Staff Sgt. Ladonies P. Strong, has been charged with involuntary manslaughter, negligent homicide, reckless driving, and dereliction of duty. A preliminary hearing that will be held in mid-October will determine whether her case will be referred to a court-martial trial.
The cause of the accident is still under investigation.
This was just one of several fatal rollovers that have taken place in recent months, causing lawmakers in Washington to demand a Pentagon investigation.