Second Okinawa-Based Airman in Four Days Arrested on Suspicion of Drunk Driving

Kadena Air Base is home to the 18th Fighter Wing in Okinawa, Japan. (CARLOS VAZQUEZ/STARS AND STRIPES)
Kadena Air Base is home to the 18th Fighter Wing in Okinawa, Japan. (CARLOS VAZQUEZ/STARS AND STRIPES)

CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa -- For the second time in less than a week, a Kadena-based airman has been accused of crashing a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol.

Senior Airman Timaan Garnes, 24, was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving at about 8:40 a.m. Saturday after he rear-ended a vehicle, which then crashed into another, while driving north on Route 85, Okinawa Police deputy chief Hirotoshi Iha said Monday. The incident occurred in Okinawa City, near gate No. 2 of Kadena Air Base, police said.

No injuries were reported, but Garnes' blood-alcohol content was four times higher than Japan's legal limit of 0.03%, Iha said. Garnes told police he remembered driving but not the crash.

By comparison, all 50 U.S. states have set 0.08 as the legal limit for driving under the influence or driving while impaired.

Garnes' case is being turned over to Japanese prosecutors, Iha said.

Officials from Kadena's 18th Wing could not be reached Monday, but they typically do not comment on cases that are under investigation.

The incident comes just days after another Kadena airman was arrested after police allege he struck a motorcycle, injuring two, while intoxicated.

Senior Airman Zachary Lamont Ransom, 26, was taken into custody Wednesday after rear-ending a motorcycle while driving north on Route 58 at Mihama in Chatan, Iha had told Stars and Stripes previously. Two passengers on the motorcycle suffered minor injuries to their arms.

Ransom's blood-alcohol content was nearly twice Japan's legal limit. He was turned over to prosecutors and charged with drunken driving and causing injury to motorists while drunken driving.

Those incidents follow an apparent slaying-suicide on the island at the hands of an Okinawa-based servicemember.

The bodies of Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Gabriel Olivero, 32, of North Carolina, and Tamae Hindman, 44, of Okinawa, were found April 13 at Hindman's apartment in Chatan. Okinawa police allege Olivero -- a Navy corpsman attached to the 3rd Marine Division -- stabbed Hindman to death before taking his own life.

Crimes committed by U.S. servicemembers on Okinawa are amplified by a core subset of the population advocating for fewer U.S. troops in the prefecture. Seventy-two percent of voters voted against the relocation of Marine air operations within the prefecture during a February referendum.

In a letter dated April 14, III MEF commander Lt. Gen. Eric Smith asked all U.S. servicemembers on Okinawa to keep a low profile to show respect to a community in mourning, The Associated Press reported.

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