Driver leaves Marine passengers behind after fleeing Okinawa crash scene
Stars and Stripes September 19, 2023
CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — Japanese police on Okinawa are looking for the driver of a car with license plates assigned to U.S. forces who collided with another car, injuring five people, and then fled the scene.
A red sedan with a Y plate, which identify the private vehicles of U.S. service members and Defense Department civilians in Japan, collided with a gray Daihatsu Move at 3:40 a.m. Saturday on Route 58 in south central Okinawa, a spokesman for the Ginowan police said by phone Tuesday. He declined to provide the car’s make or model, citing the ongoing investigation.
Police found the sedan a short distance from the crash site and watched its driver flee on foot, leaving two Marine passengers behind, the spokesman said.
In the Daihatsu, a backseat passenger — an Okinawa man in his 30s — suffered a broken hip; two women up front received minor injuries, the spokesman said.
The sedan’s passengers belong to Marine Air Support Squadron 2 at Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, the spokesman said. No details were immediately available about the driver.
Some government officials in Japan speak to the media on condition of anonymity as a requirement of their employment.
Police followed the speeding sedan southbound on Route 58 but lost sight of it until coming on the crash scene, the spokesman said. The sedan had apparently rear-ended the Daihatsu, he said.
The three people injured in the Daihatsu were treated at a local hospital and released, the spokesman said. The Marines were treated for minor injuries at U.S. Naval Hospital Okinawa on Camp Foster.
A spokesman for the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, Maj. Rob Martins, acknowledged an emailed inquiry from Stars and Stripes seeking comment Tuesday but did not immediately respond.