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Fort Drum soldier from Eden dies from vehicle crash

Photo provided by the family of Lt. John Levulis

A soldier from Eden, severely injured in a crash last week, has died. 25-year-old Army First Lieutenant John Levulis was riding in a Humvee when it was hit by another vehicle and forced off the road along the New Jersey Turnpike. 

The military vehicle slammed into a tree.  Lt. Levulis was with three other soldiers traveling from Fort Drum, N.Y. to Fort Dix, N.J.  The driver of the car is facing reckless driving charges.  

Lt. Levulis is a 2008 Eden Junior-Senior High School graduate. He graduated in 2012 from Niagara University where he earned a bachelor's degree in criminology and criminal justice. He was enrolled in Niagara's ROTC and was engaged to a Niagara University graduate. In 2012 he was commissioned to serve as an officer. 

Lt. Levulis was serving as an active duty infantry platoon leader with the 10th Mountain Infantry Division at Fort Drum.    

Lt. Levulis was engaged to Julianne N. Viviano, a 2013 Niagara University graduate.  

"He was just a strong student, engaged, nice quick smile, a polite young man, discipline, respectful -- everything you would want in a young man -- John Levulis had it," said Tim Ireland, Niagara University Professor.

A family member informed WBFO News Lt. Levulis and Viviano were married prior to his deployment to Afghanistan in 2013. However, the couple was "planning a traditional wedding celebration with family and friends for this July."  The family said they are 'heartbroken'

Funeral arrangements have not been finalized.

Lt. Levulis's former Niagara University Professor Tim Ireland spoke with WBFO News. Ireland said it was stunning to learn the news of Levulis. 

"He was just a strong student, engaged, nice quick smile, a polite young man, discipline, respectful -- everything you would want in a young man -- John Levulis had it," said Ireland.

Ireland said his heart and the University's heart goes out to his family. "It's a sad day," stated Ireland.

In a post on the Fort Drum Facebook page, a post was issued regarding the crash of the four soldiers:

Dear Commando Family and Friends,

Four soldiers serving with 2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment, were seriously injured when a civilian vehicle struck their military vehicle on the New Jersey Turnpike on Friday evening, May 1. The soldiers were traveling in a military convoy to Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst to conduct mounted gunnery training.

One soldier was airlifted to a civilian medical facility and three soldiers were transported by ambulance. All next of kin notifications are complete.

In the days ahead, I ask that everyone respects the privacy of our soldiers and their family members.

The battalion command team is traveling to the hospital and we are doing everything we can to support our soldiers and family members. We ask for everyone to keep our team in their thoughts and prayers as they move forward in their recovery process.

Courage and Honor

COL David S. Doyle