Visalia soldier killed in overseas accident receives hero's welcome home

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Sgt. Tyler Vaughan, 22, was supposed to get married soon. But instead of planning a wedding, family members are planning a funeral. (KFSN)

A South Valley native and army sergeant died last weekend in Germany.

Sgt. Tyler Vaughan, 22, was supposed to get married soon. But instead of planning a wedding, family members are planning a funeral.

It was a homecoming fit for a hero, organized by the Patriot Guard Riders with help from local law enforcement along the way.

"Motorcycles, cars, trucks, anything and everything, there was about a procession about over a mile long after we left Bakersfield," said Jess Ahumada with the Patriot Guard Riders.

It was all for Vaughan. According to his obituary, the soldier was supposed to come home to Visalia soon to marry his fiance. But tragically, the 22-year-old's life was cut short two weekends ago.

According to the military newspaper Stars and Stripes, he was involved in a car accident near a U.S. military installation in Germany.

Stars and Stripes reports Vaughan was a passenger in the vehicle that veered off the road and hit a tree. Three others reportedly survived, including the driver, who was allegedly under the influence of alcohol.

"He was a hero because he enlisted, he sacrificed his freedom to join the military and to serve our country and our community and give us the rights that we have now," said Ahumada.

Ahumada has honored hundreds of fallen heroes in California as a Patriot Guard Rider. After hearing of Vaughan's death, and at the family's request, he mobilized the volunteer group.

On Tuesday, they escorted Vaughan's family from Visalia to Los Angeles to retrieve the young soldier's remains. They returned to Visalia later that night.

"He did everything above and beyond what he needed to do," Ahumada said.

Ahumada says Vaughan was well-liked by his community. He was a 2012 graduate of El Diamante High School and a member of Visalia First Church where a celebration of his life will take place on Monday morning.

Related Topics:
sportssocietysoldier killedtulare countyVisalia
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