Skokie soldier dies in car accident in Washington state

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A U.S. Army soldier originally from Skokie died when his shuttle bus crashed while returning from the Seattle-Tacoma International airport to his base in Washington state.

Pvt. Reymon B. Tolentino, 28, was one of 10 soldiers aboard the 24-seat bus when its civilian driver lost control of the van about 4:30 p.m. Thursday along Interstate 5 in Pierce County, near Tacoma.

Tolentino was assigned to help pick up the members of his unit who arrived at the airport after their deployment in Afghanistan.

The shuttle was heading south just outside of Joint Base Lewis-McChord when it hit a concrete barrier and a light pole on the left side of the interstate, police said.

According to officials, the shuttle bus was not equipped with passenger seat belts.

Tolentino was unconscious when emergency crews arrived on the scene, officials said. He was transported to Tacoma General Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

A 34-year-old soldier from Texas was also taken to Tacoma General in serious condition, but is expected to make a full recovery. Two other soldiers were transported to the hospital with minor injuries.

Investigators are trying to piece together what caused the shuttle van to lose control. According to officials, weather and road conditions are not believed to be a factor.

WGN News Writer Judith Ruiz-Branch contributed to this story

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