New Mexico Military Institute is mourning the loss of Cadet Corey Rozell, 22, of Whitefield, Maine, who died from injuries sustained in a car accident Friday on Interstate 10 near Deming.Â Rozell, enrolled in NMMIâ€™s U.S. Coast Guard prepatory cadet program, was not wearing a seat belt.
â€œThe corps of cadets is a family, and we have suffered the loss of one of our family members,â€ Brig. Gen. Richard V. Geraci, NMMI commandant of cadets, said in a press release Tuesday. â€œItâ€™s something we donâ€™t want to have happen but we have to accept it and we must mourn his loss by remembering his life and what he meant to each of us.â€
The accident is still under investigation by New Mexico State Police. According to acting Sgt. Mike Thomas, drugs and alcohol did not play a role. Thomas said the accident was caused by â€œinattention by the driver.â€
Rozell drifted into the median while driving westbound and slid through eastbound lanes before being hit by an oncoming tractor trailor.
â€œWe donâ€™t know for sure, but something caused him to drift off the road … it could be many things,â€ Thomas said.
Rozell, who held the Coast Guard rank bosunâ€™s mate third class, was on furlough and on his way to Arizona with fellow cadet Austin Cowan, 19, of Seminole, Fla. Cowan is being treated for injuries sustained in the accident at University Medical Center in El Paso, Texas, and is expected to make a full recovery.
After finishing his prep training at NMMI, Rozell would have matriculated at the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn. On Saturday, Geraci met with all members of the corps of cadets to deliver the news of Rozellâ€™s death.
NMMI of ficials Chaplain Maj. Daniel Musgrave, and counselors, Maj. Dave Featherstone and Capt. Ty Walker, have been available to all cadets for grief counseling and assistance. The corps of cadets honored Rozell by observing a â€œSilent Soupyâ€ during its evening meal, Tuesday, followed by â€œSilver Tapsâ€ at 10 p.m. A memorial service for Rozell will be held in the NMMI alumni chapel at 4 p.m. today.