Sailor escapes jail time for DUI crash that resulted in injuries, alcohol restriction in Japan

Petty Officer 2nd Class Aimee Mejia

The U.S. banned drinking and restricted off-base activity for its personnel in Japan after a sailor was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving on the island of Okinawa in June.

Petty 2nd Class Aimee Mejia, 21, assigned to Kadena base in Okinawa, was arrested after driving the wrong way on a freeway and smashing head-on into two vehicles.

The sailor faced a maximum of 15 years in prison if convicted under Japanese law, but prosecutors sought only three years.

On Tuesday, Mejia was found guilty and sentenced to three years in prison for driving a car under the influence of alcohol and causing an accident that injured three people, according to Japan Today.

Crimes committed by U.S. forces in Okinawa are highly resented by residents, and U.S. personnel were already under a midnight curfew with off-base drinking banned after the arrest in May of a former U.S. who worked on an American base in the disappearance of a Japanese woman later found dead.

But Mejia will never have to spend a day in prison because Judge Masanori Nagahashi  suspended her sentence for four years.  The Judged showed leniency because of her absence of a criminal record.

It is unclear if she will be leaving the Navy and Japan.

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