Marine Corporal Gets One-Year Sentence in Deadly Vehicle Rollover

The 7-ton truck, driven by Cpl. Bin Guo, rolled multiple times, leaving one Marine dead and 18 injured at Camp Pendleton, California, on Sept. 10, 2015. Photo via Camp Pendleton Police
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The driver of a 7-ton truck that rolled over and killed a Marine in 2015 will serve a year at the Camp Pendleton, California, brig for negligent homicide, a military judge recently ruled.

Cpl. Bin Guo, 28, pleaded guilty Oct. 30 to one specification of negligent homicide and one specification of reckless driving with injury, his attorney, Maj. Nelson Candelario, told Military.com.

The military judge, Col. Matthew Kent, had handed down a sentence of four-and-a-half years' confinement, reduction in rank to private, and a bad-conduct discharge, but a pretrial agreement limited Guo's time in the brig and protected him from a punitive discharge. Marine Corps Times first reported Guo's sentence Tuesday.

Military.com exclusively reported in March that Guo was facing court-martial following the Sept. 10, 2015, rollover.

Guo, then with 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, had been making a return trip from Pendleton's Camp Horno range to Camp Las Flores, where his unit was headquartered, with 18 Marines in the back of the truck, according to a police report.

Shortly after passing the Camp Las Pulgas ammunition supply point, Guo took a curve fast and lost control of the vehicle. The truck skidded off the roadway and slammed into an electrical pole.

Guo was knocked unconscious and told investigators he didn't remember what happened. Cpl. Brian Lauw, 21, died on the scene as a result of blunt force trauma. Other injuries included spinal fractures, head trauma, facial lacerations and brain bleeds, according to the police report.

The report indicated that Guo had been asked by his passengers to drive more slowly on previous trips, and investigators found he had not slowed down while taking the sharp curve.

But the investigation left open the possibility that the massive Oshkosh truck's brakes had failed in the turn.

Originally, Guo pleaded not guilty, alleging he had not acted negligently ahead of the horrific crash. But Candelario said an agreement with the trial counsel had resulted in his ultimate decision to plead guilty.

Some 20 witnesses testified during sentencing, Candelario said, including Lauw's family and Marines who were injured in the rollover. Guo's parents, his wife and his psychologist also testified.

Guo also made a statement, he said, in which he apologized to the Marines in the room and Lauw's family members for the crash.

"He said he was the operator, and while this wasn't intentional, he had responsibility for the Marines over there," Candelario said. "He [addressed] the fact that a Marine was killed, and it's something he's going to have to live with for the rest of his life."

Guo, who had not been in pretrial confinement, was taken into custody following the trial, Candelario said.

"This whole situation was an unbelievable tragedy," he said.

-- Hope Hodge Seck can be reached at hope.seck@military.com. Follow her on Twitter at @HopeSeck.