Sailor killed in a crash involving four other sailors, two still in critical condition

Electronics Technician 2nd Class John Deltoro with his spouse. Deltoro, 29, was killed in a vehicle accident that occurred while members of a West Coast-based Naval Special Warfare unit returned from training at Camp Billy Machen in Niland, California on June 3. (Picture taken prior to Deltoro qualifying as an Expeditionary Warfare Specialist)

Kristina Davis

The San Diego Union-Tribune

A Navy sailor who was killed in a van crash near Jacumba Hot Springs has been identified as Electronics Technician 2nd Class John Anthony Deltoro, the Navy said Saturday.

Deltoro, 29, from Augusta, Ga., was in the van with four other sailors assigned to West Coast-based Naval Special Warfare units when it crashed on Friday.

The crash on Interstate 8 occurred as the occupants — a woman and four men — were returning to San Diego from training at Camp Billy Machen, a desert training facility operated by Naval Special Warfare near Niland, southeast of the Salton Sea in Imperial County.

The crash happened shortly before 10 a.m. as their Chevrolet Express van veered off the freeway near Carrizo Gorge Road, California Highway Patrol spokesperson Officer Travis Garrow said.

The van went down a dirt embankment and slammed into a large boulder, Garrow said.

Two of the sailors remained in critical condition and two were in stable condition Saturday, according to the Navy.

CHP was continuing to investigate. Garrow wrote in an email that “at this point in the investigation alcohol (and/or) drugs are not suspected to be a factor.”

Deltoro joined the Navy in 2012, officials said.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the Deltoro family and our injured teammates,” Rear Adm. H.W. Howard III, commander of Naval Special Warfare Command, said in a statement. “John was one of our best combat support technicians, enabling our force to conduct highly complex and high-risk missions in the Nation’s defense.”

“John was an exceptional teammate, and we mourn his tragic loss,” added Capt. David Abernathy, commander of Naval Special Warfare Group 1. “We will remain in support of John’s family and will never forget his dedication to selfless service.”

Staff writers Alex Riggins and Teri Figueroa contributed to this report.

This story originally appeared in San Diego Union-Tribune.

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