A Persian Gulf War veteran who survived when his tank hit a land mine in Kuwait died in a car wreck two days after arriving home.
A funeral was set for Friday for Jeffery Collins, 25. Collins and his half-brother Donald Pearl, 21, were killed after being thrown from their car, which crashed on Ohio 93 south of Shawnee on Monday.Collins returned Saturday from the Persian Gulf and 13 hours before the crash was one of three Operation Desert Storm troops honored with a parade in New Straitsville, a community of 865 about 60 miles southeast of Columbus.
The young men's mother, Betty Jean Miller McClelland, had to be hospitalized after learning of the crash. The men also are survived by their fathers and three brothers.
"There's not a whole lot you can do but try to help the family through this," Mayor Alfred Bookman said.
Shane Collins, 16, a nephew of Jeffrey, said his uncle described his front-line experience as "pretty gruesome."
"He was in a tank five days (while) they were fighting," he said. "On the way back, they ran over a land mine that blew tracks up over it."
Floraul King, who helped organize the parade, said Collins "was just so full of life. He was so happy to be home."
Collins had a fiancee, who was studying nursing at Hocking Technical College and worked as a meat cutter at a Kroger grocery store in Logan.
Pat Mace, assistant manager of customer service at Kroger, said that although Collins was in the Army Reserve, he volunteered to go to Saudi Arabia.
"He said he felt kind of obligated," Mace said.