13:57 GMT +319 September 2019
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    People hold banners as they listen to a speaker during a rally against a new US military base in Okinawa, Japan's nouthernmost prefecture (file)

    US Okinawa Sailor Avoids Jail After Causing Accident While Driving Drunk

    © AFP 2019 / Toru YAMANAKA
    Asia & Pacific
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    A US Navy sailor, arrested in June on the Japanese island of Okinawa after a drunk-driving car accident that injured three, was found guilty but spared prison, according to media reports.

    Aimee Mejia, 21, a highly-intoxicated US Navy petty officer was arrested in June, she was driving in the wrong lane and subsequently collided with two vehicles, injuring three people.

    According to media reports, Mejia pleaded guilty and asked for leniency. The judge, Masanori Nagahashi, however, sentenced her to three years in prison, but took her absence of a criminal record into account, suspending punishment under the condition that Mejia maintain good behavior for four years.

    Under Japanese law, Mejia could face a maximum of 15 years in prison, but prosecutors asked for a term of 3 years.

    The accident sparked further backlash among Okinawa residents against US troops stationed on the island, and embarrassed US military officials as it came within weeks of murder allegations against a former Marine.

    It is unclear whether Mejia will remain in Okinawa or in the US Navy.


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    Drunk Driving, car accident, injury, sentence, US Navy, Aimee Mejia, Japan, United States, Okinawa
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