A San Diego-based sailor died earlier this month in a fiery car crash about 60 miles east of his duty station, according to police.

Aviation Electrician’s Mate 1st Class Monterro J. “Terro” Friend, 34, was driving west on Interstate 8 in southeastern San Diego County near Campo at about 3:30 a.m. on June 2 when his 2018 Toyota Tundra drifted off the road and then into the highway’s center divider, according to a California Highway Patrol statement.

Investigators say that his truck then went airborne, struck an embankment and caught fire.

Friend was pronounced dead at the scene just after 4 a.m., according to the San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office.

The fire damage made it unclear whether Friend was wearing a seat belt and the accident remains under investigation, according to CHP.

Friend had been assigned to the amphibious assault ship Bonhomme Richard since 2017, according to his service records.

In a prepared statement released by the Navy, Capt. Rich LeBron — Bonhomme Richard’s commanding officer — said “the loss of AE1 Friend has impacted us all. We all mourn for our shipmate. Our primary concern now is to provide support for the family, friends and shipmates as they grieve the loss of AE1 Friend.”

A former resident of both Georgia and Tennessee, Friend enlisted in 2008.

He was at least the 19th sailor to die in a motor vehicle accident since the federal fiscal year began on Oct. 1, according to Navy records.

Geoff is the editor of Navy Times, but he still loves writing stories. He covered Iraq and Afghanistan extensively and was a reporter at the Chicago Tribune. He welcomes any and all kinds of tips at geoffz@militarytimes.com.

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