Okinawan police nab suspect in fatal hit-and-run
Stars and Stripes August 30, 2006
OKINAWA CITY, Okinawa — Okinawa police on Saturday arrested an Okinawan driver suspected in a fatal hit-and-run Aug. 11 in Okinawa City.
An Okinawa police spokesman said Monday that Masaki Toyama, 26, of Onna was identified as the driver of a car that struck a 50-year-old road maintenance worker, Minoru Shimabukuro, at about 10:15 a.m. Shimabukuro was attempting to enter his pickup truck, which was parked on a city road in the Matsumoto district of Okinawa City, when he was struck.
He died about five hours later from brain injuries.
The accident was the subject of police requests for help from the Okinawan and American communities on the island, said Hisao Kinjo of the police department’s Community Traffic Section.
He said the prompt resolution of the case in large part was due to cooperation from both communities.
“U.S. military authorities offered active and positive cooperation, which we are very thankful,” he said, adding that many of the 70 calls police received concerning the case were from Americans.
Toyama was identified after his mother, who had been told the car was damaged by hitting a guardrail, sent it to a repair shop, Kinjo said. The repair shop owner called police Saturday morning when he found that the car matched a description of the car involved in the hit-and-run accident, the spokesman said.
Toyama told police that he left the scene because he was driving the vehicle under the influence of alcohol, Kinjo said. He told police he had been drinking until 8 a.m. the morning of the accident.
“He is also suspected of dozing off at the wheel,” Kinjo said.