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Seabee gets suspended prison term after conviction

Date Posted: 2010-10-04

A 26-year-old Navy Seabee on temporary duty in Okinawa has been convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol and causing an accident, and received a suspended prison term for the incident.

Petty Officer Third Class Wendy Foster was found guilty in the March accident in which she rear-ended a minivan in Nago while driving a military vehicle at a speed of 80 kilometers per hour. Two children in the minivan were injured, one suffering a fractured rib while the second suffered facial bruises. Foster is assigned to a Mobile Construction Battalion in Mississippi.

Japanese prosecutors had wanted an 18-month prison term for Foster, but the judge at Naha District Court rejected the recommendation. Judge Hiroyuki Funato assigned the suspended sentence, saying Foster had shown remorse for her actions, and that her apology had been accepted by the victims. Judge Funato sentenced Foster to 20 months in prison, suspended for three years, on negligence charges of failing to pay proper attention when driving.

Foster, who did plead guilty, contended she had been irritated because she couldn’t meet her son in the United States, telling the court she was trying to clear her mind as she drove the military vehicle.

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