USMC Capt. Patrick Klokow was killed by a hit and run driver in San Diego last week, not far from where our family was staying. The story grabbed my attention since I traveled that same road during our vacation. What’s got me so incensed about the story is how seemingly callous the man who killed Klokow behaved.
Jose Luis Cifuentes, 58, who confessed to being the driver of the vehicle that struck Klokow’s bicycle last Tuesday morning, not only left the Marine to die in the road, he continued to drive his damaged vehicle in the area of the crash the rest of the day.
Klokow, a Santa Clara native and veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, was pedaling to the south near state Route 163 about 6 a.m. when Cifuentes’s vehicle hit him from behind at high speed. Cifuentes kept driving, leaving the serviceman dying in the roadway, according to investigators.
About four hours later, a motorcycle officer investigating the crash spotted Cifuentes’ Mercury Villager traveling along Kearny Villa Road, about a quarter-mile from the scene of the fatality. Police pulled Cifuentes over, took him into custody and impounded the vehicle, which had a smashed windshield and crumpled hood.
A 1999 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, Klokow deployed to Kuwait as part of Operation Enduring Freedom, then went to Iraq two months later, serving combat duty until that July. Klokow, a triathlete, had been stationed at MCRD for about two years. He is survived by a wife Anne, a helicopter pilot (USMC)who was serving in Iraq at the time of her husbands death. According to this article they planned to start a family soon.
San Diego area bikers gathered for a memorial ride last weekend, and one rider summed it up, “He could survive Iraq, but he couldn’t survive San Diego traffic. This guy spent time under fire and someone hit him and left him to die.“