Marine major admits his involvement in a hit-and-run accident in Okinawa

December 11, 2014 Ryukyu Shimpo

A 67-year-old-man who had been riding a mini-bike on Prefectural Road 75 in Okinawa City was found lying unconscious on the road after a hit and run on December 4. The man was taken to a hospital where he remains in serious condition. The Okinawa Prefectural Police announced that a Marine Corps major assigned to Camp Courtney was involved in the accident. According to police, they matched a side mirror found at the scene to the marine’s car. As of December 10, the victim remained unconscious in a local hospital.

Police report the suspect admitted his involvement in the hit-and-run accident, telling them that he fled out of fear. They do not intend to seek custody and continue to conduct the criminal investigation of the incident on a non-compulsory basis. Police say they do not see any risk of the marine escaping and covering his tracks. They will soon give prosecutors the files on him regarding suspected violation of the law on motor vehicle operators (accidental infliction of injury) and Road Traffic Law (failure to report an accident and follow the duty of giving aid to victims). The suspect has been in U.S. military custody since December 10.

According to police, the suspect was driving from the direction of Goya Intersection on the Prefectural Road 75 in Okinawa City toward Uruma City around 5 p.m. on December 4. Allegedly, the left part of his car collided with the mini-bike ahead. The victim fell down and hit his head on the road, and was later brought to a hospital in the central part of Okinawa, where he remains unconscious. The suspect was on his way to Camp Courtney, where he works, from his home at the U.S. Marines’ Camp Kinser. According to police, there has been no indication the driver was under the influence of alcohol.

From security camera footage, the police identified the suspect’s car missing its left side mirror, driving in the area of the accident.

On December 15, the Okinawa Prefectural Assembly held a special committee related to U.S.military bases, and asked how the prefectural government and police would deal with the incident.

(English translation by T&CT)

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