Marine apologizes to family for critically injuring woman
SEOUL — An in-person apology last week from the U.S. Marines has helped ease the pain and frustration for the family of a woman critically injured in a vehicle accident, according to the woman’s son.
Kim Song-yeon, 47, was driving her motorcycle home from morning prayers Thursday in Pohang, a city in southeastern South Korea, when her back wheel was hit by a van driven by a Marine, according to a South Korean police official.
Kim suffered a fractured spine and abdominal injuries. She remained unconscious and in critical condition on Monday, her family and hospital officials said.
On Monday, Kim’s son, Lee Jong-guk, said he was moved by visits from both the Marine involved in the accident and a Marine general. The Marines visited the family Thursday, the same day as the accident, to offer apologies, Lee said.
The meeting with the Marine and Maj. Gen. Duane D. Thiessen made Lee feel “relieved and soothed,” he said through an interpreter. He also said the military offered to pay for the expenses generated by the accident.
Meanwhile, South Korean police have turned over the Marine to U.S. military authorities, though they continue to investigate the accident.
So far, the Marine faces no charges from South Korean police, according to senior policeman Kim Jae-chun with Pohang’s traffic accident investigation department. Kim said the Marine told police he may have been speeding, but Kim also said police have found the Marine did not violate any traffic laws.
U.S. Forces Korea officials have not identified the Marine.
South Korean police identified the servicemember as a 20-year-old private first class, but an officer handling the case Monday said he was unsure of the English spelling of the man’s family name.
A USFK spokesman had no comment on the case Monday, which was a training holiday for many military officials in South Korea.