Who was the driver that died after trying to breach a California Navy base?


A 56-year-old California woman who sped onto Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake earlier this month and died after crashing into a barrier does not appear to have had any Navy ties, Naval Criminal Investigative Service officials said this week.

Lisa Marie Kopeczy-West “was not a military member or dependent and has no known ties to the base,” NCIS spokesman Jeff Houston said in an email.

For reasons that remain unknown, Kopeczy-West sped past the wide main entry gate of the base at about 7:30 a.m. on May 6.

A so-called “final denial” barrier was raised several hundred feet away and Kopeczy-West’s vehicle struck it, officials said at the time.

She died at the scene.

Houston declined to provide further information on the incident, citing the ongoing nature of the investigation.

China Lake is a remote Navy test base in the Mojave Desert, about 120 miles north of Los Angeles.

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Geoff is a senior staff reporter for Military Times, focusing on the Navy. He covered Iraq and Afghanistan extensively and was most recently a reporter at the Chicago Tribune. He welcomes any and all kinds of tips at geoffz@militarytimes.com.

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