Former Marine makes court plea in 2019 deadly Onslow County crash

JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WITN) – A law enforcement officer in Montana who was a former Camp Lejeune Marine has pleaded guilty to a 2019 traffic crash that killed a woman and injured another Marine.

Hunter Wells made the plea this morning in Onslow County Superior Court.

Under a plea deal with prosecutors, The 26-year-old Wells made an Alford plea to felony death by vehicle and felony serious injury by vehicle. The agreement said the former Marine would be sentenced to between three years to just under five years in prison.

Back on November 8th, 2019, troopers say Wells was driving a pickup truck on White Oak Road near U.S. 17 when he ran off the road and struck a tree.

Passenger Charles Cornwall, 20, also a Camp Lejeune Marine at the time, was seriously injured in the crash, while 24-year-old Morgan Patten, of Hyannis, Massachusetts, was killed in the crash.

“I want to foremost apologize to the Patten family,” Wells told the judge this morning. “I know I have caused them pain and suffering over the past four years. I haven’t answered anything, that I was advised to stay quiet. I’ve let my family down. I’ve put them through something that they’ll never recover from and I wish I could take it back and I wish that it was me instead of her. This has been the worst part of my life and I guarantee it’s the worst part of their life as well.”

Wells was originally charged with felony death by motor vehicle, serious injury by motor vehicle, DWI, and careless and reckless driving.