Airman dies after losing control of motorcycle on Okinawa
NAGO, Okinawa — A Kadena airman died Sunday when he lost control of his motorcycle on Highway 329 in Nago’s Yofuke district, according to Nago police.
Senior Airman Matthew W. Wilkinson, Jr., 23, of the 18th Wing Aircraft Maintenance Squadron was riding north on the highway at about 9 a.m. when his 400 cc motorcycle swerved off the road on a curve.
The motorcycle slid on a sidewalk and slammed against a bridge guardrail, a police spokesman said.
Wilkinson was taken to Hokubu Hospital in Nago, where he was pronounced dead at 1:42 p.m. from brain trauma and massive bleeding, the spokesman said.
The cause of the accident is under investigation, but police said they believe Wilkinson swerved while driving about 60 mph.
Wilkinson, who arrived on Okinawa in December 2003, was touring with three other riders, an Air Force spokeswoman said. No other riders reported injuries due to the accident, she said.
It’s the second fatal motorcycle accident involving a servicemember in Nago this year, the police spokesman said. The accidents have prompted Nago police to ask servicemembers to take extra care while traveling on unfamiliar roads.
In April, a Camp Foster Marine died in a motorcycle accident on Highway 331 in Nago’s Teniya district after his 1,000 cc motorcycle swerved off the road on a curve.
It’s also the Air Force’s second motorcycle-related death since December, when an airman who had been drinking lost control of his motorcycle on a narrow road near Bolo Point in Yomitan Village.