Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 2006, Sergeant Andrew Jowers (pictured), 4th Regiment, the Royal Artillery, and Corporal Jonathan Train, were killed in a road traffic accident while on a training exercise in the United States.
Sergeant Jowers had joined the army in 1986 and served in Bosnia and Northern Ireland as well as two tours in Iraq. A colleague described him as dedicated, tough, loyal and popular. (If any of my readers have information about, or a photograph of, Corporal Train, please send me a pm so that I may amend the post here and elsewhere - https://www.facebook.com/christina.drummond.56).
Sergeant Jowers and Corporal Train were in the U.S. with two officers to set up targets for a training exercise called Torpedo Focus. They were travelling along a remote highway which was described in court as a rollercoaster road, with the two officers in a separate vehicle behind them. A truck driver from Mexico, half-asleep at the wheel and travelling in the other direction tried to correct his heavy-duty haulage truck as it snaked – he pulled a sharp turn left and crossed the centre line, hitting Sergeant Jowers’ and Corporal Train’s car head-on at 55 m.p.h.. There was nothing the two soldiers could have done to prevent the collision; Sergeant Jowers died from multiple traumatic injuries, and Corporal Train, who was driving, died from chest injuries due to blunt force trauma. Their colleagues in the second vehicle tried to free them, but were forced back due to the flames and then a series of explosions.
Due to the remote location, it was an hour before paramedics arrived, but it was later determined that both soldiers had died instantly. The coroner recorded a verdict of death as the result of an accident. The truck driver was charged with vehicular manslaughter; he had been driving for longer than the eleven hours allowed by California law, and admitted to only having four hours sleep before setting out that day.
Andrew, from Middlesbrough, was 36 years old and married with three sons. Jonathan, from Leicester, was 26 years old.