Okinawa police search for driver in hit-and-run
Stars and Stripes August 3, 2006
URASOE, Okinawa — Okinawa prefectural police are searching for the driver of a “Y” plate car whom they’ve accused of fleeing from the scene of a traffic accident Monday on Highway 53, near Camp Kinser.
A police spokesman Tuesday said the driver of the car, which had the license plate issued to persons in Japan under the status of forces agreement, was involved in a minor collision with a moped about 6 p.m.
The moped was traveling north in the far-left lane in the Miyagi district of Urasoe while the Y-plate car, a dark blue Nissan sedan that was following behind in the same lane, veered to the left and struck the rear of the moped, according to the police report.
The 28-year-old moped rider lost control and the moped skidded onto its side. The moped driver sustained minor bruises and scratches, the police spokesman said. The driver of the car stopped and helped the woman to her feet, then left the area, the spokesman said.
“Police are looking for the driver on suspicion of leaving the scene of an accident — although he did render aid,” the spokesman said.
Okinawa police are working closely with the military police to locate the driver, he said.
The Monday incident was the second apparently involving SOFA personnel this week. An Army sergeant assigned to 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne), 1st Battalion on Torii Station remained in Okinawa police custody Tuesday after being apprehended on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol and leaving the scene of an accident.
He is accused of striking a motorcycle from behind while changing lanes on Highway 58 in Chatan. The motorcyclist sustained a fractured ankle. Another motorcyclist who followed the fleeing car reported to police, who then stopped the sergeant’s car.
The 24-year-old sergeant denied the charges. He refused to take a Breathalyzer test, the spokesman said.
Police withheld the auto driver’s name because no formal charges had yet been filed.