Three Camp Pendleton Marines among four killed in fiery crash on 5 Freeway in Downey

An entrance to Camp Pendleton in Oceanside with cars lined up to enter
An entrance to Camp Pendleton in Oceanside. Three of four people killed in a crash on the 5 Freeway in Downey early Saturday morning were Marines based at Camp Pendleton.
(Lenny Ignelzi / Associated Press)

Four people, including three U.S. Marines stationed at Camp Pendleton, were killed in a fiery one-vehicle crash Saturday morning on the 5 Freeway in Downey, authorities said.

The California Highway Patrol received a call about 2:30 a.m. about a crash of a 2018 Dodge Charger on the southbound 5 Freeway, according to CHP Officer Zachary Salazar.

The investigation found that the driver had lost control of the car, which struck a metal guardrail and a concrete pillar of a pedestrian bridge, according to Salazar. The force of the impact caused the car to split in half, ejecting the two passengers in the back of the car onto the right shoulder.


The front of the vehicle became completely engulfed in flames and was on fire when CHP officers arrived; all four people were pronounced dead at the scene.

“It’s unknown if the force of the impact or the subsequent fire was the cause of death for the people in the front,” Salazar said.

The Los Angeles County coroner identified three of the victims as 27-year-old Joshua Leandra Moore Jr., 26-year-old Daniel Nichols and 21-year-old Rodrigo Zermeno Gomez. The coroner’s office did not say whether all of the identified victims were Marines. The fourth victim remained unidentified.

Military officials confirmed that three of the victims were Marines stationed at Camp Pendleton, KTLA-TV reported.