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After 2 Tours Overseas, Local Marine Dies in Motorcycle Crash

CHATSWORTH, Calif. (KTLA) — A 27-year-old Marine survived two tours in Afghanistan only to die in a motorcycle crash here at home.

On Saturday, a car cut right in front of Jesse Wilkes’ motorcycle at an intersection in Chatsworth, not far from his condo. He died instantly.

Wednesday night, friends and family honored the decorated Marine at a candlelight vigil near the scene of the crash.

It still doesn’t seem real to Jesse’s mother, Kimber Wilkes, that her pride and joy is no longer around to hug her and laugh with her.

His step-father, Bill Lassetter, says he’ll miss everything about the man that he considered to be a son.

“Jesse was heading eastbound on Devonshire and he was going the speed limit, and a woman decided to make a left-hand turn in front of him,” Kimber said.

Dozens of friends whose lives Jesse touched have offered up their love and support to his family.

“I can’t thank all these people who have put this together for us… I can’t thank them enough,” Kimber said. “They’re angels.”

Jesse was a Marine reservist who served two tours in Afghanistan when he was on active duty.

Cheyenne Thompson, who served with Jesse, and was part of the same bike club made up of Marines, tried to put into word the void Jesse’s death will leave.

“I can’t really put into words what he’s done for me… What he’s done for everyone.” Thompson said. “I can’t define it.”

Jesse’s parents don’t want to see another tragedy like this one happen, so they’re pushing to get a left-hand turn signal installed at the intersection.

–Mary Beth McDade, KTLA News

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