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SASEBO NAVAL BASE, Japan — A sailor who allegedly was driving under the influence of alcohol off base when his car ran into another and injured its Japanese driver was indicted Thursday.

The Nagasaki District Prosecutor’s Office in Sasebo charged Chief Petty Officer Terry Lynn Pace, 39, with professional negligence resulting in bodily injury and driving under the influence. The crash occurred June 3 at about 12:30 a.m. as Pace was driving from Shikamae-cho toward Kawashimo-cho.

The indictment said Pace, who admitted the crash was his fault, was feeling sleepy and failed to stop to rest.

“He neglected a professional duty to immediately stop and thought … it was not necessary to take a rest or nap,” the indictment states.

He then fell asleep at the wheel and his car hit another car stopped at a traffic light, according to the indictment. The 45-year-old Japanese man in the stopped car suffered minor injuries, authorities said.

Japanese police said Pace refused to take a blood-alcohol content test at the scene.

Navy security officers arrived after Japanese authorities and found Pace still inside his car, bleeding profusely, according to base spokesman Charles T. Howard.

Pace was taken to the Navy clinic for treatment — which included taking a blood sample — and security officers told Japanese police he would be made available for questioning.

On June 14, prefectural police received Pace’s blood sample and concluded his BAC was higher than legally allowed, a police spokesman said. The spokesman would not comment on specific results.

The charges and any fines and reparations will be determined in local summary court, the least punitive of Japan’s five-tier court system. The maximum fine for DUI, based on Japan’s BAC limit of 0.3 milligrams per liter, is about $5,000, an official with the prosecutor’s office said Friday.

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Hana Kusumoto is a reporter/translator who has been covering local authorities in Japan since 2002. She was born in Nagoya, Japan, and lived in Australia and Illinois growing up. She holds a journalism degree from Boston University and previously worked for the Christian Science Monitor’s Tokyo bureau.
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