UPDATE: Sgt. Jose Jimenez, 31, dies in motorcycle wreck on Highway 165

A soldier assigned to the 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Benning died in a motorcycle wreck on Highway 165 Thursday morning, according to officials.

Sgt. Jose Angel Jimenez, Jr., a 31-year-old infantryman, was on a motorcycle mentor safety program ride when the wreck with a tractor trailer occurred, public affairs officials said this week.

Jimenez was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 69th Armor Regiment, according to Maj. Ellis Gales Jr. with the 3rd Brigade.

A spokesman for the brigade said soldiers had been safe for 412 days without a fatal traffic accident until the motorcycle crash.

Robyn Litchfield, a public information officer with the Alabama Department of Public Safety, said the wreck happened near Meadwestvaco in the unincorporated town of Cottonton, Ala.

The wreck occurred at 10:18 a.m. Thursday.

Jimenez's awards and decorations include the Expert Infantryman Badge, Combat Infantry Badge, Overseas Service Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, Global War on Terror Service Medal, two Iraq Campaign Medal-Campaign stars, National Defense Service Medal, four Army Good Conduct medals, five Army Achievement medals and three Army Commendation medals.

Fort Benning's deputy public affairs officer Monica Manganaro said the motorcycle program is there to re-emphasize safety measures before soldiers get on a bike. Some units in the past have taken their safety rides right before long holiday weekends.

Robert Topolewski, safety and occupational health specialist for the 3rd Brigade, told the Ledger-Enquirer last month that the brigade has more than 300 motorcycle riders but 231 have officially signed up for the mentorship program. Under the program, soldiers get their motorcycles inspected and they go through training courses.

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