This screenshot from an All Nippon News report shows security camera footage from a car dealer in Iwakuni, Japan, Dec. 3, 2022.

This screenshot from an All Nippon News report shows security camera footage from a car dealer in Iwakuni, Japan, Dec. 3, 2022. (ANN)

A Marine pleaded guilty this week to stealing a car in December from a dealership, driving drunk and crashing into another car, injuring two other people, according to Japanese media accounts.

Lance Cpl. Dominic Youngren, stationed at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, made his first court appearance Tuesday in Yamaguchi District Court on charges of auto theft, drunken driving and other offenses. He is scheduled for sentencing June 16, the Chugoku newspaper reported Tuesday.

Prosecutors recommended Youngren, an F-35B Lightning II mechanic with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 242, be sentenced to 2 ½ years in prison with hard labor. The Marine’s attorney pitched a suspended sentence, arguing he has expressed remorse, met with the auto dealer and made some restitution in the case, Chugoku reported.

Youngren admitted he was drunk at the time and doesn't remember much, the Yamaguchi Broadcasting Co. reported Tuesday.

The prosecutor said Youngren stole a car valued at about $38,000, from an Iwakuni dealer on Dec. 3 and drove it under the influence of alcohol, the report said. He then rear-ended another car at an intersection but walked off without reporting the accident to the police.

Two people in the car suffered sprained necks, according to the report.

The prosecutor said in court that Youngren took a taxi home after an extended night of drinking in Iwakuni and Hiroshima and got off near the dealership, according to Chugoku.

He broke the dealership glass door, stole the car and after the collision fled the scene in fear and returned to MCAS Iwakuni, the prosecutor said, according to the newspaper.

"He repeated offenses in a short period of time and lacks … respect for rules," the prosecutor said, according to the report. Youngren’s “self-centered crimes” ignored the damage he caused to others, he added.

Youngren's attorney declined to discuss the case with Stars and Stripes on Tuesday.

The Marine Corps cooperated “fully” with Japanese authorities during legal proceedings in Youngren’s case, a spokesman for the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, Maj. Rob Martins, told Stars and Stripes by email Wednesday. “We continue to be committed to safety and appropriate behavior, on and off-duty, while safeguarding our trust and long-established relationship with the community.”

author picture
Hana Kusumoto is a reporter/translator who has been covering local authorities in Japan since 2002. She was born in Nagoya, Japan, and lived in Australia and Illinois growing up. She holds a journalism degree from Boston University and previously worked for the Christian Science Monitor’s Tokyo bureau.
author picture
Jonathan Snyder is a reporter at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan. Most of his career was spent as an aerial combat photojournalist with the 3rd Combat Camera Squadron at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. He is also a Syracuse Military Photojournalism Program and Eddie Adams Workshop alumnus.

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign up to receive a daily email of today's top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign Up Now