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NAPLES, Italy — Italian authorities have charged a U.S. sailor with negligent homicide in the Aug. 1 deaths of two Italians in a car accident.

It isn’t known when Petty Officer 3rd Class Jason Ellerbe was formally charged, or when a hearing will take place, said Lt. Cmdr. Jacky Fisher, spokeswoman for Naval Support Activity Naples.

The Italian authorities also issued Ellerbe traffic citations for driving under the influence, speeding, and driving without a license for the accident on the Tangenziale, the main highway through Naples.

Italian news reports said the two Italian men, ages 21 and 19 from a Naples suburb, had gotten out of their vehicle in the Camaldoli tunnel at about 5:15 a.m.

News reports differed on whether there was a problem with their vehicle or whether they had been involved in an earlier accident.

It also isn’t clear whether Ellerbe’s 2004 Volkswagen Jetta hit the two men, or if his Jetta struck their car and it hit the men. Ellerbe was traveling alone.

Ellerbe, 26, from Washington, D.C., is a master-at-arms with the security department.

He received minor injuries in the accident and was turned over to the base, where he is in U.S. military custody at Capodichino. He is not allowed to leave the base, Fisher said.

“If the Italian authorities request [Ellerbe to be turned over to them], then the U.S. military would do it,” she said.

If convicted, Ellerbe faces one to five years in prison.

The incident was the second fatal accident this summer involving a sailor from Naples. On June 12, three Naples sailors were killed and two seriously injured in a fiery car accident.

The U.S. military in Naples has since taken measures to keep sailors off the roads in the early-morning hours on weekends, including running shuttle buses to downtown areas.


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