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Police want tougher charge for Navy sailor in wrong-way crashes

Aimee Mejia, a Navy petty officer second class assigned to Navy Munitions Command at Kadena Air Base, has been accused of driving drunk and crashing into two cars while going the wrong way on an Okinawa highway and could face up to 15 years in prison.

CHIYOMI SUMIDA/STARS AND STRIPES

By CHIYOMI SUMIDA | STARS AND STRIPES Published: June 6, 2016

CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — A 21-year-old Navy sailor could face up to 15 years in jail for crashing into two cars, injuring two people, while driving the wrong way on an Okinawa highway.

Aimee Mejia, a Navy petty officer second class assigned to Navy Munitions Command at Kadena Air Base, originally was charged with suspicion of drunken driving after a Breathalyzer test put her blood-alcohol content at 0.18 — six times the legal limit in Japan.

Okinawa police on Monday referred the case — which contributed to the Navy announcing that sailors in Japan would be barred from non-essential off-base activities and banned from drinking alcohol until further notice — to the Naha prosecutor’s office, recommending a charge of dangerous driving resulting in injuries. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 15 years.

Mejia was traveling southbound in the northbound lane of Highway 58, a main artery on Okinawa’s west coast, at about 11:40 p.m. Saturday near Kadena Gate 4, police said. Her car crashed into an oncoming vehicle, injuring a 35-year-old woman in the chest. Mejia’s car then struck another car, bruising the arm of a 30-year-old man, police said.

Protests already have been held over the recent arrests of a civilian U.S. base worker in connection with the slaying of an Okinawa woman and a U.S. sailor for the rape of a Japanese tourist. Those separate incidents led to tightened liberty restrictions May 27 on Okinawa, including a ban on off-base drinking, and a call for a monthlong period of mourning by U.S. servicemembers on the island.

sumida.chiyomi@stripes.com
 

Aimee Mejia, a Navy petty officer second class assigned to Navy Munitions Command at Kadena Air Base, has been accused of driving drunk and crashing into two cars while going the wrong way on this section of Highway 58 in Okinawa, Japan.
CHIYOMI SUMIDA/STARS AND STRIPES

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