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California crash claims chief petty officer

A Nov. 6 motorcycle crash near Naval Base San Diego killed a chief petty officer, officials confirmed this week.

Chief Gas Turbine Systems Technician-Mechanical Matthew Paul Spitsnaugle, 40, was riding a motorcycle south in the 1200 block of Harbor Drive around 10 p.m., when he veered off the roadway and struck a utility pole, according to National City Police Department spokesman Sgt. Tom Wilkins.

He was pronounced dead at the scene at 10:27 p.m. due to multiple blunt force injuries, according to San Diego County spokeswoman Alex Saint.

Wilkins said the cause of the crash remains under investigation.

An Ohio native who was residing in Chula Vista at the time of the accident, Spitsnaugle reported to San Diego’s Southwest Regional Maintenance Center last month, according to his service record.

“We are mourning his loss,” the center’s commanding officer, Capt. David Hart, said in a statement. “The (maintenance center) family extends their condolences to his family and friends.”

He is the fourth sailor killed in private motor vehicle accidents since the new federal fiscal year began on Oct. 1, according to Navy records.

Spitsnaugle enlisted in 1999 and was selected for chief in 2015.

He had served on board the guided-missile cruiser Mobile Bay before arriving at the center and completed several tours on its sister Ticonderoga-class warship Shiloh earlier in his career.

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