Promlikhit Khamkhong, 27, and his wife, Carolina, were riding his motorcycle when they crashed westbound on Otay Lakes Road, east of Wueste Road, around 10:30 p.m. on Thursday night.
"Thursday night he wanted to go out riding at Highway 94 because that was his favorite place to go," Carolina recalled. "It was his escape. He loved doing it."
At the time, it was dark and some drivers on the highway had their high beams on, she said. Her husband lost control of the motorcycle as he navigated a right turn on the road, according to a report released by the San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office; his motorcycle veered off the street and down a steep embankment.
"He pushed me off," she said. "He did a selfless thing and pushed me off. I should have held him."
In the aftermath of the crash, Carolina searched for her husband, but couldn’t find him. She crawled up the embankment and got back to the roadway, where she then flagged down passing motorists for help, according to the ME's report.
When emergency responders arrived at the scene, they made their way down into the embankment and found Khamkhong unresponsive in the field. He died at the scene.
The couple was wearing helmets at the time of the motorcycle accident, according to the ME's report.
Khamkhong was set to leave for his fourth deployment soon. Carolina said her husband was a devoted service member.
"He loved his work, he loved helping people he really enjoyed it," Carolina said. "He came home from leave, so he was able to spend time with us before he left again."
Carolina said she keeps replaying Thursday's crash in her head, over and over again.
"It’s just so hard," she told NBC 7. "He had a heart of gold. He’s my ray of sunshine."
Friends set up an online fundraising page for the grieving family to help with medical expenses. The page describes Khamkhong as a "great friend, son, brother, family member" and "an amazing father and loving husband."
Carolina wrote on social media that she and her son feel "lost" and "heartbroken" without Khamkhong.
"I couldn't find you, I was calling out for you, but I couldn't hear you," she continued. "I know I had to get help, so I climbed up the hill, I kept falling, but I needed help to find you."
"I miss my best friend, my soulmate, my everything," Carolina said.
No one else was hurt in the crash.
CORRECTION (July 15, 2017, 11:06 p.m. PT): An earlier version of this article incorrectly reported Khamkhong was a Marine rather than a Navy Corpsman.