The 20-year-old former Palm Beach Gardens High School baseball player who died overnight Monday after he crashed his car on PGA Boulevard, had enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps just weeks before his death.
Tyler Dittmer enlisted in the Corps’ delayed entry program June 6 and was scheduled to begin recruit training in February 2013, according to a statement released today by the Corps’ recruiting station in Fort Lauderdale.
“As a member of the delayed entry program, Tyler was a part of the Marine Corps family,” the statement said. “The Marines of Marine Corps Recruiting Station Fort Lauderdale mourn his untimely death, and we offer our deepest sympathies and prayers to Tyler’s family and friends.”
Dittmer, of Palm Beach Gardens, died after losing control of his car and striking a tree near railroad tracks in suburban Palm Beach Gardens, the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office said.
Tuesday evening, family and friends were still dealing with his loss and did not want to comment.
A candlelight vigil is planned for Dittmer 9 tonight at the Palm Beach Gardens High baseball fields.
Palm Beach Gardens baseball coach Joe Russo confirmed that Dittmer played for the team and said that Dittmer graduated from the school in 2010. Russo said he did not want to comment further.
Former Gators third baseman Ben Carhart remembered Dittmer as an energetic player.
“That’s one of the saddest things I’ve heard in a while,” Carhart said in a phone message to the The Palm Beach Post. “He was a great guy on and off the field during baseball, and I even played a year of soccer with him. He’s an energetic, great kid, basically everything you look for in a kid to be a friend with.”
Carhart, who recently was drafted by the Chicago Cubs organization, said that he was stunned by the news.
“I heard the news earlier today and I can’t believe it, I’m in shock,” he said
According to a sheriff’s crash report, Dittmer’s 1996 Ford Cobra was clipped shortly before 10:30 a.m. Tuesday by a passing northbound train near Bee Line Highway and PGA Boulevard. However, he died earlier and was most likely was there hours before the train hit his car,
according to sheriff’s spokeswoman Teri Barbera.
According to the crash report, he was driving west on PGA Boulevard, crossed the intersection at the Bee Line Highway and then veered off of the roadway, hit a tree, overturned and landed near the tracks.
Dittmer died at the scene.
A Facebook page set up for Dittmer Tuesday night — R.I.P. Tyler Dittmer — had more than 1,000 members as of this morning.
Palm Beach Post staff writer Toni-Ann Miller contributed to this story.