When officers from the California Highway Patrol arrived at a fatal car accident Wednesday morning on Highway 99 near Traver, they draped the body not with the standard yellow blanket but with an American flag.
They did it out of respect because he was an active duty member of the U.S. Marine Corps. A CHP officer waited until a representative of the Marine Corps arrived to take custody of the body.
The 19-year-old Marine was from Ceres, the CHP said. His name was not available.
After officers determined the man was in the Marines, a CHP sergeant made the call to use an American flag, CHP spokesman Scott Harris said.
“He just felt it was more respectful to the Marine than the standard yellow blanket,” Harris said.
About 6:20 a.m., the Marine was driving alone in his 2012 VW Jetta, heading north on Highway 99 just south of Merritt Drive when his car drifted to the east roadway edge and onto the dirt shoulder.
It appears he tried to take evasive action but the car hit a guard rail and struck a freeway sign pole.
He was pronounced dead at the scene.