SASEBO NAVAL BASE, Japan — A USS Harpers Ferry crewman died early Friday after sustaining injuries in an off-base motorcycle crash.

Sasebo police identified the sailor as Seaman Dustin Joe Powell, noting speed and alcohol may have been factors in the fatal crash.

Lt. j.g. Jereal Dorsey, spokesman for Commander, Amphibious Task Force 76, declined to confirm the dead sailor’s identity but said the crash victim was a 28-year-old male from the USS Harpers Ferry.

According to Sasebo police, Powell was riding his 1,100cc motorcycle on Highway 202 away from the base’s main gate late Thursday night when he struck a gently sloping curb near Sasebo Heavy Industries Co. Ltd., also know as SSK.

“No other vehicles were involved in the accident,” Dorsey said. “And no other injuries were reported.”

A local ambulance transported Powell to Kyosai Hospital, where a physician pronounced him dead at 12:10 a.m., Sasebo police said.

Police noted he died of brain contusions caused by a skull fracture.

Police did not comment on whether Powell was wearing a helmet.

The sailor may have been speeding at the time of the crash because the distance between his body and where the bike stopped between 90 and 100 yards, police said.

Alcohol may also have been a factor — a person who performed heart massage on the sailor smelled alcohol, said police, who are investigating the sailor’s activities before the crash.

Base officials are also “investigating the circumstances,” Dorsey added.

— Hana Kusumoto contributed to this report.

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