TOKYO — A U.S. military security contractor was killed last week in a drunken-driving crash in northern Japan, local Japanese officials confirmed Wednesday.

The crash — the area’s second fatal alcohol-related incident in recent weeks — prompted the local mayor on Thursday to write to the U.S. Army commander of the Shariki Communications Site in Tsugaru, urging him to emphasize traffic safety among the staff at the rural base.

Greg A. Williams, 48, who worked for Chenega Security & Protection Services, died shortly after 11:30 p.m. Oct. 30 after his car smashed into a bridge pillar, flipped and burst into flames, officials said.

He was alone in the car; no one else was injured, officials said.

It took police several days to identify Williams, a police spokesman said. His blood-alcohol content was beyond the Japanese legal limit, which is 0.03 percent.

On Monday, the communications site commander, Capt. Kirby Atwell, visited Tsugaru mayor Hiroyoshi Fukushima to apologize, according to the city spokesman.

Atwell commands Detachment 3, 1st Space Brigade at the site, which opened in 2006.

It’s home to a handful of soldiers and a few dozen contractors who oversee an AN/TPY-2 radar system, which can track incoming ballistic missiles.

The Japan Air Self-Defense Force’s 21st Air Defense Missile Squadron is stationed nearby.

At the meeting, Fukushima reminded Atwell of the U.S. military civilian worker who was charged last summer with drunken driving, according to the city’s general administration division director Tuneyoshi Kamata.

That worker was prosecuted by local authorities and ultimately lost his job, according to Maj. James Crawford, a spokesman for U.S. Army Japan.

More recently, a Japanese resident also died in a drunken-driving crash in the area, according to Kamata.

On Thursday, Fukushima sent Atwell a letter about traffic safety in the area, which contains small villages, farmland and two-lane roads.

"We strongly urge him to enforce traffic safety and comply with the regulations since it could damage trust" between the military and the local residents, Kamata said.

author picture
Hana Kusumoto is a reporter/translator who has been covering local authorities in Japan since 2002. She was born in Nagoya, Japan, and lived in Australia and Illinois growing up. She holds a journalism degree from Boston University and previously worked for the Christian Science Monitor’s Tokyo bureau.

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign up to receive a daily email of today's top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign Up Now