National / Crime & Legal

U.S. serviceman arrested in connection with fatal Okinawa vehicle crash

Kyodo, AP, Staff Report

A U.S. serviceman found with a blood alcohol content three times the legal limit after a fatal traffic accident in Okinawa Prefecture was arrested Sunday, local police said.

Nicholas James-McLean, the 21-year-old marine who sustained light injuries, had earlier been questioned by police on a voluntary basis after his 2-ton military truck collided with a minitruck at an intersection in Naha at around 5:25 a.m., authorities said.

The Japanese driver, identified as 61-year-old Hidemasa Taira, was later confirmed dead at a hospital.

A witness told police that the military truck had run a red light and hit the minitruck as it was attempting to make a right turn.

“I would like to convey my deepest regret and sincere condolences to the family and friends of the Okinawan man who died as a result of this accident,” said Lt. Gen. Lawrence Nicholson, commanding general of U.S. Marine Forces Japan.

The incident could fuel more opposition to the U.S. military presence in Okinawa, where about 25,000 U.S. troops are stationed.