A Navy pilot from Lemoore remains in critical condition in a Fresno hospital after his car was hit by a man driving a stolen pickup and fleeing law enforcement.
The collision at 22nd Avenue and Grangeville Boulevard in rural Kings County involved three vehicles and killed two people. The incident happened about 8:50 a.m. on Nov. 3.
Pilot William “Buddy” Marshall, 29, was driving to work at Lemoore Naval Air Station, according to a Facebook post by Phil Work, his girlfriend’s father.
“He is paralyzed from the neck down, in a coma, on a ventilator, and with massive head/brain trauma,” the Nov. 5 Facebook post stated.
Never miss a local story.
Marshall has since awakened, recognized his girlfriend on Facetime and mouthed words, according to a newer post.
As of Friday, he was listed in critical condition at Community Regional Medical Center.
His girlfriend, identified in Facebook posts as Carolyn Work, is also a Navy jet pilot, assigned to Fallon Naval Air Station in Nevada. Both are graduates of the Navy’s Top Gun pilot training program, according to the Facebook posting.
Attempts to reach her were unsuccessful.
The driver of the stolen pickup, Mitchell Kauffman, 19, of Fresno, has been charged with two counts of second-degree murder, two counts of gross vehicular manslaughter, three counts of evading law enforcement, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs with a special allegation of causing great bodily injury, possession of a stolen vehicle and being an unlicensed driver, the Kings County District Attorney’s Office said.
He was injured in the collision and has not yet been arraigned.
Killed were Joshua Duncan, 20, a passenger in the stolen 2001 Silverado, and Juan Villegas, 51, of Corcoran, who was driving a 2015 GMC Sierra.
The pilot was driving a 2011 BMW 135i.
The California Highway Patrol said officers had started a pursuit of the stolen vehicle in Fresno County, but called it off north of Riverdale several minutes before before the collision.