SAUCIER -- A Gulfport man on active duty with the Air Force was killed in a one-car wreck Christmas night in Saucier.
Harrison County Coroner Gary Hargrove said L.J. Montgomery, 21, died about 6:45 p.m. Friday after the 2007 Mustang GT he was driving left the road and hit a tree.
"Mr. Montgomery was southbound on Airey Tower Road just south of Joe Bill Road in Saucier when he left the road, got sideways and struck a pine tree on the driver's-side door," Hargrove said.
Two 15-year-olds were also in the car. Hargrove said they were taken by ambulance to Garden Park Medical Center and one was then taken to USA Trauma Center in Mobile.
Harrison County Fire Chief Pat Sullivan said Montgomery and the front-seat passenger had to be removed from the car with the Jaws of Life.
"Montgomery and the front passenger were both wearing their seat belts," Hargrove said. "The back passenger was not wearing her seat belt and she was already out of the vehicle when emergency personnel arrived at the scene of the accident."
Hargrove said Montgomery was stationed in Japan.
"He had just got home to Gulfport on Christmas Eve to spend the holidays with his family," he said.
Ana Blanca Lanas, whose husband was stationed with Montgomery at Kadena Air Force Base on Okinawa, said she drove Montgomery to the airport and was happy he was going to spend the holidays with his family in Gulfport.
"L.J. was such an amazing guy," she said. "He always had a smile on his face and could make anyone's day with it. He never met a stranger -- everyone was a friend to him. He was one to always care about others and make sure they were happy. He was always making someone laugh with his jokes."
She said Montgomery's friends will miss him.
"We didn't know each other for long, but him and the rest of the guys we hung out with made our friendship into a family we called the 'Oki family.' I can tell you one thing, our parties and family dinners will never be the same without him. We can't believe he's gone. Still trying to wrap my head around the fact I'll never see him again."