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Naha District Court sentences U.S. Marine to four years for fatal drunken driving crash in Okinawa

Kyodo

The Naha District Court on Wednesday sentenced a U.S. Marine based in Okinawa to four years in prison for killing a 61-year-old man in a car crash while driving under the influence of alcohol last year.

Prosecutors had sought six years for Nicholas James-Mclean, 22, who is deployed to Camp Kinser in the city of Urasoe.

According to the ruling, James-Mclean, who was driving a 2-ton military truck, ignored a red traffic light and entered an intersection in the city of Naha at a speed of 88 kph, hitting a light pickup truck and killing its Japanese driver in the early morning of Nov. 19.

Presiding Judge Toshihiro Shibata said, “It was extremely dangerous and his negligence is serious. The defendant cannot avoid the prison sentence.”

Prosecutors argued that James-Mcleandrove the vehicle after drinking an excessive amount of alcohol and “caused the worst consequence,” leaving no room for leniency as sought by the defense counsel.

Police arrested James-Mclean last November on suspicion of dangerous driving resulting in death as well as drunken driving. He was three times over the legal limit for alcohol in a Breathalyzer test.

People in Okinawa, which hosts the bulk of U.S. military facilities in Japan, have protested noise, crime and aircraft accidents linked to U.S. bases and personnel.

A U.S. base worker was convicted last year by the district court of murdering a 20-year-old woman in the prefecture in 2016.