Marine Evan Sanchey, Out of the Danger Zone

Evan Sanchey, a war survivor
As he headed back home to the Yakima area last week, young Evan Sanchey could say he'd had his share of dangerous moments. That day a few years back, for example, when he ate a snake on a bet. Or - after graduating from the Yakama Nation Tribal School in 2006, where he was a cross-country, track and basketball standout - working for the Yakama Nation Fire Management, chasing down wildland blazes. Brush fires could quickly spread to 20 acres, and when fed by high, hot winds, instantly roll back over an unsuspecting firefighter.

In 2007 he joined the Marine Corps, stationed at Camp Pendleton. He deployed to several countries, and in March this year, went to war. Lance Corporal Sanchey was a member of the 1st Marine Division conducting combat operations in Helmand, southern Afghanistan. Desert fire-fighting indeed. But he survived.

Last week, on leave, he caught a flight back to the U.S. He was a Marine happy to be alive and away from danger. On an overnight layover at Dallas-Fort Worth Airport, he was crossing State Highway 183, perhaps coming from a nearby restaurant. A grayish Mazda Tribute came out of the darkness.

It struck him solid. The driver slowed, then sped away.

"When we first heard, it didn't make sense to us," said his cousin Don Jones. Yesterday, with his family including his twin brother Ivan gathered around him, Evan Sanchey came home to be buried. He was 23. Safe at last.

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