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Trial Starts For Camp Pendleton Marine Charged With 3 DUI Deaths

Camp Pendleton Marine Sgt. Jared R. Hale was behind the wheel on Feb. 14, 2012 when his Dodge Stratus slammed into a tree in Dana Point, killing his three passengers - all fellow Pendleton Marines.

Sgt. Jeremiah Callahan, 23; Cpl. Jason Chleborad, 22; and Cpl. Christopher Arzola, 21 lost their lives in the early morning hours of that rainy Valentine's Day.

Hale was intoxicated at the time of the crash, according to what authorities told the Orange County Register:

About an hour and a half after the crash, Hale was found to have a blood alcohol level of 0.16 percent, prosecutors said, twice the legal limit.

City News Service reports Hale is facing significant time behind bars if he's convicted on all counts:

Hale is charged with driving under the influence causing bodily injury and driving with a blood alcohol level above the legal limit causing bodily injury. He also faces three sentencing enhancement allegations of causing great bodily injury.

Hale's defenders, including his attorneys and his mother, deny that Hale was drunk at the time of the crash. They say Hale was the designated driver, and sipped only soft drinks that evening.

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