A U.S. Army soldier, his wife and their toddler son were killed in a car crash in South Korea last week, U.S. Forces in Korea confirmed to NBC10 Boston Sunday.
Eighth Army Specialist Luis Taveras, 26, was from Boston's Jamaica Plain neighborhood, according to Stars and Stripes, the military newspaper.
Former Massachusetts Secretary of Veteran Services Francisco Urena confirmed to NBC10 Boston Sunday that Taveras was from the Bay State.
Military officials said Taveras; his wife Lisbeth, 30; and their child Luis, 1, were driving near the city of Pyeongtaek on Monday evening when their vehicle collided with another vehicle. All three were pronounced dead at the scene.
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The driver of the other vehicle was taken to a nearby hospital with non-life threatening injuries, officials said.
Stars and Stripes reported that the Taveras' vehicle collided with a tow truck being driven by a 27-year-old Korean man on the outskirts of Camp Humphreys, a major U.S. military base near Pyeongtaek along the country's western coast. The fatal collision occurred at a curve in a one-lane road, police and fire officials told Stars and Stripes, and a fire broke out following the crash.
“The men and women of Team 19 are saddened by the loss of the Taveras Family,” Brig. Gen. Steven L. Allen, the commander of the 19th Expeditionary Sustainment Command, said in a statement. “No words can accurately express the pain their friends and family are having to confront. We will, as an Army Team, move forward in a manner that provides support and assistance to those grieving. We humbly request all respect the privacy of their friends and family during this very difficult time.”
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Taveras was recognized with the Army Achievement Medal during his time in the Army, which began in August of 2017. He served as a quartermaster and chemical equipment repairer with the 19th Expeditionary Sustainment Command.
Taveras arrived in South Korea in June, Stars and Stripes reported.
The news of his death comes just days ahead of Veterans Day, and Urena says it is a reminder that a soldier’s sacrifice starts from the moment they enlist.
“To the thousands who are serving around the world and across our country, they are in harm’s way. At any given moment, whether it’s from terrorist attacks or even in this case, accidents,” Urena noted.
It is not yet known where Taveras’ remains will be laid to rest. Urena said his homecoming has not been announced. Urena assured the Taveras family is being assisted by local military support organizations to coordinate funeral services.
“The community that still knows him, remembers him as vibrant person who raised his right hand and decided to protect and defend our rights and our freedoms, there’s also a sense of condolences that go to them,” Urena added.
The Korean National Police are investigating the incident, and the U.S. Army will also conduct a line-of-duty investigation, officials said.