Woman Navy petty officer arrested for DUI after Hwy 58 crash
Okinawa City Police arrested a female U.S. Navy petty officer assigned to Kadena Air Base, Sunday, on suspicion of driving drunk after she crashed her car into two minicars injuring two people.
According to police, 21-year-old Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Aimee Mejia drove her car under the influence of alcohol on Highway 58 in Mizugama, Kadena, shortly before midnight on Saturday. The collision occurred as Mejia drove her car the wrong way against the traffic, collided head-on with a minicar and then hit another. A 35-year-old woman in the first minicar suffered a broken breastbone and a 30-year-old man in the second car bruised his arm. Mejia was not injured.
A breathalyzer test showed an alcohol level of six times the legal limit in her breath.
Investigators said Monday that the suspect has admitted she drank alcohol with a colleague before driving. Reports say she told police she went to the home of a 25-year-old male service member in Yomitan together with a 19-year-old female colleague, and had awamori and vodka there before getting into her car to drive home.
Police has sent the case to prosecutors on a charge of dangerous driving resulting in bodily injuries.
Because of the incident, Japan’s Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida lodged a protest with U.S. Ambassador Caroline Kennedy, and the Defense Ministry protested to Lt. Gen. Lawrence Niholson, the top U.S. commander on Okinawa. Both apologized for the incident.
Japan’s Defense Minister Gen Nakatani said in Singapore that the incident was “extremely regrettable,” as it happened right after the U.S. military had enacted measures to tighten discipline among the U.S. military and related personnel on Okinawa.
The measures started last month include a midnight curfew and a ban on drinking alcohol outside of the bases. The ban is slated to stay in effect through Jun. 24.