TROWBRIDGE TWP. (AP) – A 22-year-old Marine who recently returned from duty in Afghanistan was killed Friday after losing control of his car and striking a tree in West Michigan’s Allegan County, authorities said.

Gregory Courtney was driving about 120 mph before he lost control of his Chevy Camaro about 5 a.m. in Trowbridge Township, about 30 miles southwest of Grand Rapids, police said. Alcohol also is believed to be a factor in the crash, the Kalamazoo Gazette reported.

Courtney was thrown from the car, which crashed less than a half-mile from his father’s home.

“It doesn’t seem real,” friend Sam Wallace told WOOD-TV. “He was in the Marines, serving his country, bought a nice Camaro, a brand new Camaro. His pride and joy.

“He was a grunt and survived that, just to come home.”

Courtney was ticketed four times for speeding over the past year. Three of those tickets came since June, according to WOOD-TV.

His former wrestling coach at Allegan High School wondered why Courtney would be driving so fast at the time of the crash.

“Can I see a kid doing that? You know, yeah, maybe,” Murray Rose told the television station. “I’m just devastated that it happened to him.”

Courtney was a member of the school’s 2007 state champion wrestling team.

“There’s always certain teams and individuals that kind of stick with you through the years, and Greg was one of those ones you remember,” Rose said. “You remember him for a long time.”

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.


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