Marine arrested on suspicion of drunken driving after weekend crash on Okinawa
Stars and Stripes July 31, 2023
CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — Japanese police say a U.S. Marine was driving under the influence of alcohol when his car crashed into a taxi on Okinawa over the weekend.
Lance Cpl. Cameron Merlet, 21, assigned to Camp Kinser, was arrested at 6:14 a.m. Saturday on Route 58 in Naha city, a spokesman for the Okinawa prefectural police told Stars and Stripes by phone Monday.
No one was injured and Merlet was released from custody the next day, the spokesman said. Some government officials in Japan are required to speak to the media only on condition of anonymity.
Merlet was southbound on Route 58 at 4:43 a.m. when he attempted a U-turn at a traffic light in the Higashimachi district, the spokesman said. His white Toyota Chaser struck a taxi making a righthand turn, according to police.
A breath test measured Merlet’s blood-alcohol content at slightly over Japan’s legal driving limit of 0.03%, according to the spokesman. By comparison, all 50 U.S. states have set 0.08% as the legal limit for driving under the influence or driving while impaired.
Police sent the case against Merlet to prosecutors on Sunday, the spokesman said. If convicted of violating Japanese traffic law, he faces a maximum five years in prison or a $7,400 fine.