Navy Sailor Officially Charged in Wrong-Way DUI Crash in Okinawa

Aimee Mejia, a Navy petty officer second class assigned to Navy Munitions Command at Kadena Air Base, has been accused of driving drunk and crashing into two cars while going the wrong way on an Okinawa. (CHIYOMI SUMIDA/STARS AND STRIPES)
Aimee Mejia, a Navy petty officer second class assigned to Navy Munitions Command at Kadena Air Base, has been accused of driving drunk and crashing into two cars while going the wrong way on an Okinawa. (CHIYOMI SUMIDA/STARS AND STRIPES)

CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa -- Charges have been filed against a Navy sailor whose wrong-way crash triggered sweeping travel and alcohol restrictions for servicemembers on Okinawa.

Aimee Mejia, a 21-year-old Navy petty officer second class assigned to the Navy Munitions Command at Kadena Air Base, was charged with dangerous driving resulting in injuries Friday by the Naha District Public Prosecutor's Office, an office spokesman said. If convicted, she could face up to 15 years in prison under Japanese law.

Mejia was arrested June 4 after driving the wrong way down an Okinawa highway and crashing into two vehicles, injuring two people, police said. A Breathalyzer tested Mejia's blood-alcohol level at six times Japan's limit of 0.18.

Mejia's arrest could not have come at a worse time for U.S. forces stationed in Japan, especially in the southern prefecture of Okinawa following the March arrest of a Navy sailor for the rape of a Japanese woman and the arrest in May of a former U.S. Marine in connection with the brutal slaying of a local woman.

A number of restrictions for U.S. servicemembers on Okinawa, including a ban on off-base drinking, had been imposed a week before Mejia's crash, which set off even tighter restrictions, including a ban on all drinking by sailors for several days.

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