Wrong-way driver who killed Marine in crash had criminal past

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SAN DIEGO — Less than 36 hours after a wrong-way driver slammed into another car, killing both drivers, FOX 5 tracked down court documents that show the wrong-way driver had run from police before.

Christian Zurita, 42, was arrested in June 2010 for “Attempt evading officer w/ reckless driving,” the report read. It also said Zurita “did drive and attempt to drive a vehicle in willful and wanton disregard for the safety of persons and property.”

A note written in pencil on the back of the report mentioned police eventually arrested Zurita at that time after he jumped out of his car and ran.

Nearly 10 years and a handful of arrests for various other incidents later, the California Highway Patrol said Zurita ran from Oceanside police. Eventually, Zurita began driving on Interstate 5 heading in the wrong direction, traveling straight into oncoming traffic. Given his dangerous past, police called off the chase, but Zurita kept going until he slammed into a silver Pontiac, killing both drivers.

Matthew Adams, 19, was driving the Pontiac Zurita slammed into. Adams’ family said he was a Marine stationed at Camp Pendleton and had just returned to San Diego after visiting his home in Utah.

“Just the other day he was here,” said Rayden Lynn, Adams’ girlfriend. “He was able to get 15 days’ leave after Christmas. He was home for the New Year. We were able to do a lot of the things he wanted to do: go shooting, camping.”

“We’re pretty upset on this end about that gentleman,” said John, Matt’s older brother. “We have the question why. It makes no sense to us.”

John said his brother had found a home and direction after joining the Marines two years ago. “That really appealed to him,” John said. “He loved it!”

“As much as he could blend in with the crowd, he stuck out like a sore thumb,” Lynn said. “’There’s something about this kid I just got to know,’” she remembered thinking.

Lynn said she took him to Salt Lake Airport Monday night. “He got on the plane,” she said. “I got a message he had landed. I never heard that he had made it back to base. That’s when two military men came to our door.”

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