Two UCSD students were killed in a head-on collision last Saturday, May 16. Madison Cornwell, 23, and fellow classmate Anne Baldock, 24, were both graduate students attending the UCSD School of Medicine. Several others were critically injured as well.
The crash occurred early Saturday morning at 1:30 a.m., when Jason King, 21, was driving the wrong way down California 163 and collided with the victims’ Toyota Prius near Mission Valley. King, a Marine stationed at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, is suspected of having been intoxicated at the time of the incident.
The two graduate students were highly regarded among the medical school community for their humanitarian interests, as well as for their contributions to the university, according to Carolyn Kelly, associate dean of the School of Medicine.
Baldock, a second-year medical student, had recently finished her medical science training program and was planning to begin laboratory work on her thesis in the summer. She had planned on becoming a neurosurgeon.
Cornwell, also a second year, planned on spending the next year in Malawi, focusing on her involvement in the Peanut Butter Project, a program focusing on research to feed malnourished people around the world. Cornwell would have conducted humanitarian research focused on childhood malnutrition.
Three other students, Jared Molitoris, 27, Yuki lizuka, 31, and Stosh Ozog, 25, were also in the Prius and were hospitalized for serious injuries, along with King.
King faces charges of vehicular manslaughter and five counts of drunk-driving-related injury or death. His arraignment on May 20 was held bedside at the hospital, during which he plead not guilty.
Regardless of King’s conviction, the administration at MCAS Miramar aims to hold King accountable for the incident, as MCAS spokesman 1st Lt. Gabriel Adibe told the UCSD Guardian.
“We take incidents of this nature very seriously. [King’s] actions are not in keeping with the good order and discipline demanded of a U.S. Marine,” Adibe stated. “He will be appropriately held accountable for his actions.”
Alcohol abuse has been a persistent problem in the military, with 47 percent of service members taking part in binge drinking, eclipsing civilian rates. Adibe explained that the Marine Corps acknowledges this issue and currently offers many programs designed to prevent substance abuse among active service members.
“Our leadership implements several initiatives to educate Marines in an effort to prevent drinking and driving,” Adibe said. “Some of these initiatives include designated driver programs, safety stand downs, quality leadership discussions and safety briefs and substance abuse programs.”
Close family and friends held a private memorial for Cornwell and Baldock on the same day of King’s arraignment. The organizers broadcasted the ceremony to those who wished to pay their respects. Over 700 students and faculty listened in to the broadcast, according to Kelly, who cited this as proof of the School of Medicine’s sense of closeness and community.