The family of a daughter who was killed in a highway collision in 2013 in Joshua Tree, involving a Marine who allegedly fell asleep behind the wheel of a military-issued Humvee, has filed a federal lawsuit in Riverside District Court. Kristin Thrawl, 26, of Yucca Valley, was killed in the April 19, 2013, collision on Highway 62, west of Sunkist Avenue.
Thrawl, who worked at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms, was on her way home from work where her family and 5-year-old daughter were waiting to celebrate her birthday. Thrawl was driving west on Highway 62 in her 2010 Ford Focus about 3:30 p.m. when Juan Lira, a Marine who was driving a Humvee in a convoy of about 20 vehicles, eastbound on the highway to the Twentynine Palms Marine base, crossed the center line and crashed head-on into Thrawl’s vehicle. According to the lawsuit, Lira became drowsy while driving and drifted over the center line, and despite questions from his passenger, another Marine, about whether he was OK to continue driving, continued to drive. The lawsuit contends that within minutes, Lira started dozing off again and the Humvee drifted to the right and collided head-on with Thrawl’s Ford Focus. The impact caused both vehicles to swerve off the road and overturn, the lawsuit claims. Thrawl suffered major trauma to her head, both legs and left arm. She died at the scene, according to the CHP’s traffic collision report. The lawsuit was filed by the daughter’s father, Philip Jacobson. Marine Corps spokesman Capt. Eric Flanagan declined to comment Monday. He said it is Marine Corps protocol not to comment on pending litigation.