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Community honors Orem Marine who died in California accident

Marines assist in the burial service at the Orem City Cemetery Saturday for Marine Lance Corporal Matthew Ryan Adams, 19, who was killed two weeks ago in Southern California.
Aubrey Shafer, Deseret News

OREM — Hundreds of community members lined the processional route to the Orem City Cemetery Saturday in honor of 19-year-old Marine Lance Corporal Matthew Ryan Adams who was killed two weeks ago in a Southern California traffic accident.

Matthew Adams’ brother, David Adams, said he and his family were moved and overwhelmed by the show of community support.

“It means everything,” Adams said. “I mean, the support has been absolutely overwhelming and just everybody being there and showing support for my brothers, and my parents especially, means absolutely everything.

Adams was killed in the early morning hours of Jan. 15 in an accident on I-5, just a few miles away from where he was stationed at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton by a man driving a pickup truck in the wrong direction and at high speed.

Firefighters from the Pleasant Grove and Orem fire departments stood side by side Saturday to fly a large flag to honor Marine Matthew Ryan Adams, 19, who died in an automobile crash in California last month.
Pleasant Grove Fire Department

Police spokesman Tom Bussey said Oceanside police stopped a Ford F-150 for minor violations just after midnight on Jan. 15.

When officers left their patrol car, the driver of the truck sped away from the intersection. Police got back in their cruiser and pursued the truck, but abandoned the chase when the truck turned and went the wrong way on northbound I-5 near Carlsbad, according to Bussey.

The truck collided head-on with a Pontiac Grand Prix driven by Matthew Adams, who was headed from the airport back to Camp Pendleton following a visit with his family in Utah. Witnesses said speeds reached 100 mph, with the collision killing both drivers in a fiery crash about 12:20 a.m. Police said a passenger in the truck survived, but suffered serious injuries. The driver was later identified as Christian Zurita, 42.

Police said Zurita was not only driving the wrong way down the freeway, but with his headlights off.

“He had just landed in San Diego International Airport when he got in his car and was traveling back to his barracks at Camp Pendleton when the accident occurred,” said Matthew Adams father, Ben Adams, shortly after the accident.

Adams was the youngest of four brothers and a graduate of Mountain View High School. His parents said he decided to join the Marine Corps because he admired and looked up to recruiters he had met.

Matthew Adams enlisted in July 2019. His parents said he had a passion for trucks and working with his hands, becoming an automotive maintenance technician with the 1st Transportation Support Battalion, Combat Logistics Regiment 1, 1st Marine Logistics Group at Camp Pendleton.

He was responsible for the servicing, inspecting, maintaining and repairing motor transport equipment, according to U.S. Marine Captain Stephen Washburn.

“He just found his calling in life,” Ben Adams said. “He just was having so much fun tearing these great big PTOs apart.”

Matthew Adams is survived by his parents Benjamin and Angela and his brothers David, Samuel and Johnathan.

A quote attributed to Matthew Adams was included in an obituary published by the Sundberg -Olpin Mortuary.

“Life is life,” Matthew once wrote. “Everybody should be open to the world, and all it has to offer is infinite knowledge and experiences. You only got one chance to live it.”