Airman, two teens in Okinawan police custody after pursuit
June 8, 2006
OKINAWA CITY — An 18-year-old airman assigned to Kadena Air Base and two civilian teenagers were in Okinawa police custody Tuesday following a high-speed car chase that ended in a six-car pileup in Chatan on Monday night.
Okinawa police said the three are suspected of stealing four pairs of sneakers from a shoe store in Okinawa City’s Minami Tobaru district. The airman and the two other teens, the 17-year-old son of a U.S. civilian base employee and his 16-year-old sister, are accused of stealing the sneakers, valued at $160, at 7:59 p.m. They were spotted about 10 minutes later by an Okinawa police officer responding to the theft report. The trio’s names are being withheld because they are considered minors under Japanese law, police said.
The short car chase began on Highway 58 in the city’s Hamagawa district. According to a police spokesman, a car allegedly driven by the airman rammed a car in the rear as it sped from the pursuing police cruiser at 8:40 p.m. The car then swerved into the center lane, hitting one car and sending it spinning into another vehicle. The airman’s car then rear-ended another car before coming to a stop.
No serious injuries were reported. The airman was driving without a license, the police spokesman said.
The pursuing police car also was involved in a minor accident, ramming a car driven by a U.S. servicemember. No one was injured in that accident, the police spokesman said.
Okinawa and military police are investigating.