Police Accuse Kadena Airman of Drunken Driving After Crash That Injured High School Students

Screen grab from DVIDS video
Screen grab from DVIDS video

CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa -- An airman from Kadena Air Base was arrested on a drunken driving charge Thursday night after his car allegedly collided with a scooter carrying a pair of local high school students.

Staff Sgt. Carlos Humberto Diaz, 26, was taken into custody in the Mihama neighborhood of Chatan shortly after the incident around 11:40 p.m., an Okinawa police spokesman told Stars and Stripes by phone Friday.

Diaz apparently attempted a right-hand turn when he collided with the scooter, the spokesman said.

The students were thrown from the scooter upon impact, the spokesman said. The driver was treated at a local hospital for a head injury; the passenger suffered an injury to his right leg, according to police.

Both injuries are believed to be minor, the spokesman said. The driver of the scooter was wearing a helmet.

Police at the scene reported smelling alcohol on Diaz's breath, the spokesman said. A Breathalyzer test measured Diaz's blood-alcohol content at 0.09%, three times Japan's legal limit for driving, 0.03%.

Kadena's 18th Wing said it cannot comment on active investigations but that it is cooperating with police.

"The 18th Wing takes all incidents and allegations involving misconduct or illegal behavior seriously," said a statement emailed to Stars and Stripes on Friday. "We will continue to educate our Airmen and their families on the local laws, and encourage them to keep safety at the forefront of their minds."

Diaz was in custody Friday at the Okinawa Police Station, the police spokesman said. Police plan to refer a DUI charge to the Naha prosecutor's office Saturday.

Diaz may also be charged with causing injury by negligence if police believe he violated traffic laws by making the turn, the spokesman said.

Government spokespeople in Japan typically speak to the media on condition of anonymity as a condition of their employment.

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