SEOUL — South Korean authorities said Wednesday they are seeking pre-trial custody of two Kunsan Air Base personnel accused of an April attack on a local taxi driver.
The incident led then-wing commander Col. Jeffrey Lofgren to restrict servicemembers to base for more than five days.
The Kunsan prosecutor said authorities want custody of one airman and one civilian, whom military officials identified Wednesday as Airman 1st Class Travis Martens, 24, and Paul K. Chessbro, 21.
The prosecutor said he will charge the two — and 27-year-old Airman 1st Class Michael Carpenter — with assaulting the driver and attempting to steal his taxi.
The prosecutor said he is not seeking pre-trial confinement of Carpenter.
Base officials confirmed that Martens and Chessbro attended a South Korean detention hearing Tuesday and that South Korean officials had 24 hours from that hearing to issue a “detention order.”
Upon receipt of that order, U.S. officials must turn the personnel over to a South Korean detention facility within five duty days.
Base officials confirmed both airmen belong to the Security Forces Squadron. Kunsan city police have said Chessbro had worked at a health products store on base.
Police have said the three admitted attacking the driver because they wanted to drive themselves to a Jeonju city nightclub.
The cab driver, 48-year-old Lee Ki-jung, said he was hospitalized for nerve damage and head, knee and other injuries sustained in the incident. He was discharged from Kunsan Medical Center on May 4, but he has said he requires outpatient care.
Lofgren said at the time that he’d imposed the restriction to impress upon each servicemember that conduct toward the local community must be “above reproach.”