Authorities probe fatal Okinawa hit-and-run
Stars and Stripes November 11, 2009
YOMITAN, Okinawa — Okinawa police are working with Army investigators to see if a vehicle owned by a member of the U.S. military community was involved in a fatal hit-and-run.
At about 5:15 p.m. Saturday, a passerby found the body of a man lying by the side of a road about a half mile from the Yomitan village office complex, according to a prefectural police spokesman in Kadena. The body was identified as a 66-year-old local man who had been struck by a car.
An autopsy showed the impact had broken the man’s spine, the police spokesman said.
On Sunday, local news outlets reported Okinawa police had located a car with a damaged front end that had been taken to a garage near the accident scene for repairs. The car has license plates that indicate the owner could be a servicemember or Defense Department employee.
Police would not elaborate on those reports Monday, but an Army spokesman confirmed that the car is owned by someone connected to the 10th Support Group. The incident occurred about a mile from Torii Station.
According to local news reports, police removed hair from the broken windshield of the car and it is being tested to see if it belonged to the victim.
“We’ve learned about and are saddened by the horrific fatality in Okinawa over the weekend,” said Army public affairs spokesman Chip Steitz. “U.S. officials are fully cooperating with the investigation.”
Stars and Stripes reporter Hana Kusumoto contributed to this story.