Soldier accused of stealing Seoul city bus
Stars and Stripes October 18, 2006
YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea — South Korean police are questioning a U.S. soldier they say stole a Seoul city bus and drove it while drunk before being nabbed by police near Yongsan Garrison early Saturday morning.
Pfc. Emilio Sanchez Jr., 22, of Special Troops Battalion Company B at Camp Red Cloud stole a bus from the Korean War Memorial parking lot and drove as far as Seoul Station, Korean National Police said.
Police dispatch received a call on an emergency line around 2:30 a.m. that a foreigner was driving the bus. Sanchez later was apprehended near Samgakji Station, a few blocks from the War Memorial and Yongsan Garrison.
The bus may have been slightly scratched during the incident, police said, but there are no other reports of injury or property damage.
“The leadership of this division takes this incident seriously, and we are working closely with the Korean National Police during this investigation,” a 2nd Infantry Division spokeswoman said Monday. “We do not tolerate any violations of the law or rules and regulations and will take the necessary and appropriate measures once the investigation is complete.”
Local media reports blasted Sanchez for resisting a blood alcohol test because he said he refused to rinse out his mouth with dirty Korean water.
South Korean police would not confirm any comments about the water, but said they would question Sanchez further about the test refusal.
Sanchez was questioned from 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday, police officials confirmed. They were unable to provide additional details.
“When a suspect resists the breath test, he is regarded in ‘dead drunk’ condition and will be punished accordingly,” a South Korean police spokesman said.
Sanchez was returned to U.S. Forces Korea custody Saturday night.
Local city buses usually are parked unlocked with the keys inside after they finish their service.
A security guard said he saw the bus leave the parking lot that night but did not attempt to stop it, police said.
Hwang Hae-rym contributed to this report.