S. Korean police to recommend that U.S. soldier be charged in fatal accident
June 25, 2005
SEOUL — South Korean police will recommend a U.S. soldier be charged with “duty-related accidental homicide” in connection with the June 10 death of a woman who was hit by a military truck near Camp Casey.
Sgt. Lee Do-phyo, with the accident investigation division at Yangju police station, said his office has finished its investigation and will forward the case to Uijongbu city prosecutors as early as Monday. Officials in the prosecutor’s office said they would forward the case to U.S. Forces Korea.
Kim Myung-ja, 51, was pulling a yogurt cart down Dongducheon’s Peace Street when a 2.5-ton U.S. Army truck driven by 19-year-old Pfc. Jeff Bryant struck her, police officials have said.
Under the status of forces agreement, the U.S. military adjudicates crimes committed by U.S. troops who are on duty at the time of the incident.
U.S. Forces Korea officials, contacted Thursday, refused to explain the process involved if the prosecutors forward them the case.
“We have not received the results of the investigation and it would be inappropriate for us to comment,” USFK spokesman David Oten stated in an e-mail.
Lee said this week that Bryant and his passenger, 28-year-old Pfc. Cassandra Daryliell, were questioned for about three hours on June 17. Lee said military police, legal officials and a translator accompanied the soldiers.
Lee said the victim’s sister-in-law, Shun In-ja, said she jaywalked across the road in between vehicles stopped at the stoplight in front of her store. As she began cleaning the sidewalk, she heard Kim being run over. Lee said it appeared that Kim was following Shun across the street when she was struck.
Lee said Bryant told him he feels “sad every morning” when he awakens and that he would never forget the accident.
The police sergeant also said that Kim’s family gave statements to the police in which they said they didn’t want Bryant to be punished.