Two vehicles purportedly belonging to Marines and involved in weekend collisions were in police impound on Okinawa on Aug. 14, 2023.

Two vehicles purportedly belonging to Marines and involved in weekend collisions were in police impound on Okinawa on Aug. 14, 2023. (Keishi Koja/Stars and Stripes)

CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — Japanese police arrested two Marines on Okinawa on suspicion of drunken driving after a separate pair of crashes over the weekend, one involving injuries to a Japanese driver and child passenger.

Cpl. Eduardo Sebastian, 22, of Camp Courtney, was arrested at 12:51 p.m. Sunday after his Honda Edix collided with another vehicle at a Route 75 intersection in the Higashi district of Okinawa city, a spokesman for Okinawa prefectural police said by phone Monday.

The other driver, a woman, 41, and her daughter, 9, were treated for minor injuries at a local hospital, the spokesman said. The woman injured her knee, back and neck, and the girl suffered a facial abrasion, according to the spokesman.

A Breathalyzer measured Sebastian’s blood-alcohol content at 0.15%, five times Japan’s legal driving limit of 0.03%, the spokesman said. Police said Sebastian told them that he drank “two highball cans” before driving.

By comparison, all 50 U.S. states have set 0.08% as the legal limit for driving under the influence or driving while impaired.

Also in Okinawa city, police arrested Cpl. Mike Moncoeur, 21, of Camp Schwab, at 7:49 a.m. Saturday, the spokesman said.

Police said Moncoeur was northbound on Route 224 in a black Nissan Infinity when he strayed into the opposite lane and collided with another vehicle at around 6:47 a.m. in the Noborikawa district.

A breath test at the scene measured Moncoeur’s blood-alcohol content at 0.12%, four times the legal limit, the spokesman said.

Neither Moncoeur nor the other driver were seriously injured, according to police.

Police forwarded Moncoeur’s case to prosecutors on Sunday and plan to forward Sebastian’s on Tuesday, the spokesman said.

If convicted of violating Japan’s traffic law, Moncoeur faces a maximum five years and three months in prison or a $7,400 fine.

If convicted of violating traffic law and of negligent driving resulting in injury, Sebastian faces a maximum of 12 years and three months in prison or a $14,800 fine.

Both Marines were still in police custody Monday, the police spokesman said. Some government spokespeople in Japan are required to speak to the media only on condition of anonymity.

A spokesman for the III Marine Expeditionary Force said the command is aware of the incidents and is cooperating with local authorities.

“The alleged behavior does not reflect the core values of the U.S. Marine Corps, nor does it represent the conduct of the vast majority of Okinawa-based Marines,” said Capt. Brett Dornhege-Lazaroff.

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Keishi Koja is an Okinawa-based reporter/translator who joined Stars and Stripes in August 2022. He studied International Communication at the University of Okinawa and previously worked in education.

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