Army sergeant charged in West Point crash that killed cadet

Staff Sgt. Ladonies P. Strong, who was charged Sept. 13, was driving the 2.5-ton Light Medium Tactical Vehicle.

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By Minyvonne Burke

An Army sergeant faces multiple charges including involuntary manslaughter in connection with the June rollover crash near a West Point training site that killed one cadet and injured almost two dozen others.

Staff Sgt. Ladonies P. Strong was charged Sept. 13 with one specification each of involuntary manslaughter, negligent homicide, prevention of authorized seizure of property and reckless operation of a vehicle, a U.S. Army spokesperson said. Strong was also charged with two specifications of dereliction of duty.

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The charges are in violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, the Army spokesperson said. Strong is assigned to Task Force 1-28 in Fort Benning, Georgia. TF 1-28 could not immediately offer a comment on the charges.

Cadet Christopher J. MorganWest Point

Strong was driving a 2.5-ton Light Medium Tactical Vehicle when it crashed June 6 near the Camp Natural Bridge training site in New York. West Point cadet Christopher J. Morgan, 22, of New Jersey, was killed and 20 other cadets were injured, along with two soldiers.

Kevin Larson, a spokesperson for Fort Stewart, an Army post in Georgia, said in June that the soldiers were at West Point to train cadets.

Morgan was a wrestler for the West Point Black Knights and was in the U.S. Military Academy's graduating Class of 2020. West Point wrestling coach Kevin Ward described Morgan as a "talented, hardworking and determined athlete" who had an "infectious personality with a smile big enough to fill any room."

"He made everyone around him better and he will be greatly missed," Ward said. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said in a statement that he hopes Morgan's legacy will "inspire others to reach for something greater than themselves."

Strong is scheduled for a preliminary hearing in October. The Army spokesperson said it has not yet been decided whether the charges will be referred to a court-martial.