Prayers and thoughts for young naval aviator injured in fatal crash near Lemoore

By Ed Martin, Editor
Buddy Marshall and friend Carolyn Work during Hornet training at NAS Oceano in Virginia Beach, Virginia in 2011.
Buddy Marshall and friend Carolyn Work during Hornet training at NAS Oceano in Virginia Beach, Virginia in 2011.
Photo contributed

There are thousands of folks praying and pulling for the recovery of a young naval aviator, who suffered major injuries in a Kings County crash on Tuesday, Nov. 3. Two persons were also killed in the senseless crash said the California Highway Patrol, which has filed charges with the Kings County District Attorney’s Office against a Fresno man who is suspected of stealing the Chevrolet Silverado truck involved in the crash.

The Naval aviator, 29-year-old William Marshall, who friends refer to as “Buddy” was driving a BMW when the crash occurred at Grangeville Blvd. near Lemoore. His vehicle was struck by a truck being driven by 19-year-old Mitchell Kauffman of Fresno. Marshall was seriously injured and airlifted to Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno. He was listed in critical condition as of Friday afternoon.

A friend of Marshall, and a former Navy pilot, Phil Work, whose youngest daughter Carolyn, is also a Navy jet fighter pilot, and a friend, posted a Facebook page that he says has been shared already thousands of times, eliciting many comments and prayers from friends and others.

Marshall suffered terrible injuries, is in a coma, breathing on a ventilator, and has massive head and brain trauma.

Marshall awakened briefly yesterday for the first time since the accident and seemed to recognize people and could respond to a command to track a finger with his eyes. 

The CHP has filed charges against the driver, Kauffman, which include gross vehicular manslaughter and homicide.

It was around 8:15 a.m. on Tuesday that CHP officers reportedly located what they thought was a stolen 2001 Silverado near State Route 180 and Highway 41 in Fresno. The CHP says the vehicle may also have been involved with illegal drug activity.

Officers tried to stop the vehicle but Kauffman then took off, forcing officers to follow, but they discontinued the chase due to safety concerns.

Officers then spotted the Silverado driving through an orchard but failed to stop him. Minutes later he was reportedly driving at a high rate of speed south on 22nd Avenue when he ran the stop sign at Grangeville Boulevard and then crashed into a 2015 GMC Sierra pickup and Marshall’s BMW that were heading eastbound and westbound respectively.

The crash killed Kauffman’s passenger, Joshua Duncan, 20, of Fresno, as well as the driver of he Sierra, identified as Juan Villegas, 51, of Corcoran.


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