• Kyodo

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A member of the Maritime Self-Defense Force was arrested Sunday in Saitama Prefecture for driving while intoxicated after his car hit a utility pole while he was attempting to flee the police.

A patrol car came across Jun Egawa, a 23-year-old seaman stationed at the MSDF base in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, driving erratically in Kuki, Saitama Prefecture, a little after 1 a.m.

When the patrol car attempted to stop the vehicle, Egawa drove off and 10 minutes later crashed into an electricity pole 5 km away, the police said.

A 23-year-old company employee was riding in the car, the police said.

According to investigations, Egawa was driving the man to his home in Kuki after the pair had been drinking together at a bar in the city.

“I had a medium-size mug of beer and five to six glasses of ‘chuhai,’ ” Egawa allegedly told the police. Police plan to investigate the passenger for allegedly encouraging Egawa to drink in the knowledge that he would drive home later.

Drunken driving has caught nationwide attention because of an accident in July in Fukuoka in which a city employee rear-ended an SUV, knocking it off a bridge and killing three children inside.

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