Collision death means US sailor may face heavier charge in Japan
Japanese police are asking for a more severe charge against a U.S. sailor involved in a fatal collision with a motorcycle Friday morning, officials said Monday.
Police recommended prosecutors charge Petty Officer 1st Class Cosme Reyes Romo, 33, with negligent driving resulting in death, a spokesman for the Kanagawa prefectural police told Stars and Stripes by phone Monday. Romo was initially held on suspicion of negligent driving causing injury.
Government authorities in Japan typically speak to the media on condition of anonymity.
The spokesman said police arrested Romo at the scene where the car he was driving collided with a motorcycle driven by a high school student, age 17, around 8 a.m. Friday at an Ayase city intersection. The teenager was pronounced dead around 10 a.m. at a local hospital.
A witness reported the collision, according to the spokesman. The cause of the crash, including whether Romo ran a stop sign as reported by Japanese news media, remains under investigation, according to the spokesman. He said investigators did not find Romo had been drinking.
Romo was released to the U.S. military, and his case was referred to the Yokohama District Public Prosecutors Office, the spokesman said. Under Japan’s criminal justice system, prosecutors, not police, are tasked with charging suspects with crimes following a police investigation.
Romo is assigned to the Center for Naval Aviation Technical Training Detachment at Naval Air Facility Atsugi, about 30 miles southwest of Tokyo, base spokesman Sam Samuelson told Stars and Stripes in a Monday email.
He said both the Navy and Romo are cooperating with the investigation.