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SASEBO NAVAL BASE, Japan — A female Japanese student, driving one of three vehicles in an early Tuesday wreck also involving four SOFA-sponsored dependents, died shortly after the accident, according to the Nagasaki Prefectural Police Department.

The four dependents, all from the Sasebo Naval Base community, were “immediately transported to two local hospitals,” the base public affairs office stated Tuesday afternoon. Their names and details of their injuries were being “withheld in accordance with the Privacy Act,” the statement read.

Hikaru Maehara, 20, of Sasebo, was pronounced dead at a local hospital at 9:55 a.m. A Nagasaki police spokesman said she died from a brain hemorrhage caused by the wreck.

The spokesman said Tuesday evening that Emily S. Perez, 39, was driving the car carrying the three other SOFA-sponsored dependents. All four were treated at either Sasebo General Hospital or Sasebo Kyosai Hospital, he added.

According to the base statement, “The accident is currently under investigation by the Japanese authorities. We are fully cooperating in their investigation.”

The pile-up occurred on the Nishi Kyushu Expressway near Tenjin Tunnel. The Nagasaki police spokesman said Maehara’s vehicle was traveling toward the Daito Interchange when she veered into the opposite lane, flipped and collided into a car driven by Kyoko Mukae, 46, of Sasebo.

Then the third vehicle, driven by Perez, hit Mukae’s car from behind, the spokesman said, adding that the accident’s cause remains under investigation.


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