Army sergeant charged with manslaughter in death of West Point cadet

WEST POINT, N.Y. – An investigation into the death of a West Point cadet in a rollover collision has led to charges against an Army sergeant from Fort Benning.

Staff Sgt. Ladonies Strong was driving an M1085 medium tactical vehicle long wheelbase cargo truck when it overturned on June 6, killing Cadet Christopher J. Morgan, 22, of West Orange, N.J., according to reports.

The Army said she was charged on Sept. 13 with involuntary manslaughter, negligent homicide, reckless operation of a vehicle and prevention of authorized seizure of property under the UCMJ, according to Lt. Col. Patrick Husted, a 3rd Infantry Division spokesman.

Strong is assigned to the 3rd Infantry Division Task Force 1-28 out of Fort Benning, the Army Times reported.

“The incident remains under investigation and at this point the command has not yet made a decision whether the charges will be referred to a court-martial; that decision won’t be made until after the Article 32 hearing is complete,” said Lt. Col. Husted.

Morgan, 22, a member of the Class of 2020, died at the scene of the crash from the injuries he sustained during the vehicle rollover.

The crash occurred at the Camp Natural Bridge training site at the U.S. Military Academy in New York. Consequently, the fatality also left 21 cadets and two soldiers injured, according to reports. The cadets were engaged in summer training drills and traveling in the rear of the transport vehicle.

Morgan was majoring in law and legal studies. Moreover, he was a recruited athlete who was on the Army Wrestling Team.

West Point cadet

Cadet Christopher J. Morgan, of West Orange, N.J., died on June 6 when a vehicle loaded with West Point cadets on summer training overturned at the U.S. Military Academy. (U.S. Military Academy West Point)

“We are devastated by the news of Chris’ passing. He was a talented, hardworking and determined athlete who loved his sport,” West Point wrestling coach Kevin Ward said at the time of Morgan’s death.

“Chris had an infectious personality with a smile big enough to fill any room, and a heart big enough to love everyone around him. He made everyone around him better and he will be greatly missed,” Ward added.

Strong is due to appear at a preliminary hearing next month at Fort Benning.

It was unclear if Strong was one of the injured soldiers. She could not be reached for comment, the Army Times reported.

Former president Bill Clinton spoke at Morgan’s memorial service, according to the New York Post.

Morgan’s father had been part of the former president’s security detail.

West Point’s Commandant of Cadets, Maj. Gen. Steve Gilland, called the 22-year-old “an exemplary classmate and teammate” and said the young man was “tremendously proud to be a cadet.”

More than 1,500 family, friends and military personnel attended the memorial service.


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