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KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — A U.S. soldier who allegedly commandeered and then crashed a taxi cab in Kaiserslautern early Friday morning was being turned over to U.S. military police, the German prosecutor’s office said Monday.

The 31-year-old soldier got into the cab at about 4:45 a.m. Friday, telling the driver he wanted to go to Ramstein, according to a Kaiserslautern police news release. An argument allegedly ensued, and when the driver pulled over and threatened to call police, the soldier allegedly pulled out the radio, hit the driver in the arm, ordered him out of the car and drove off, the police statement said. Moments later, he crashed the car into a lamppost and then a metal gate, police said. He fled but was soon apprehended and taken into custody, the police statement said. German police reported the soldier had a blood-alcohol level of .138. Damages were estimated at 20,000 euros, according to police.

Helmut Bleh, the chief prosecutor for Kaiserslautern, said Monday the soldier was a sergeant en route from Afghanistan to the United States and had arrived at Ramstein on Thursday evening, and was due to fly out Friday morning.

U.S. military officials on Monday would only confirm that the soldier was not assigned to the Kaiserslautern area. Mark Heeter, a U.S. Army Garrison-Kaiserslautern spokesman said he could not release more information about the soldier since he had not been charged with a crime, as of Monday afternoon. Neither U.S. nor German authorities would further identify the soldier.

“Considering all of the circumstances, we probably would not have treated this case as a severe one,” Bleh said. “If the sergeant was put on trial here, he could have faced a two- to three-year prison sentence, possibly with probation.”

Stars and Stripes reporter Jennifer Svan contributed to this report.

kloecknerm@estripes.osd.mil

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