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Navy Lieutenant Sentenced To 3 Years In Japanese Prison


A Navy Lieutenant has been sentenced to three years in prison in Japan.

Lt. Ridge Alkonis has been sentenced to three years after he accidentally killed two pedestrians while driving.

The US Navy assessed the accident and came to the conclusion that Lt. Alkonis passed out while driving due to the high altitude conditions he was driving in.

A Japanese judge however refuted this claim and stated that Alkonis fell asleep while driving.

CBS had more details to share:

The family of a U.S. Navy officer sentenced to three years in prison in Japan for a deadly car crash is shattered. For months, they’d hoped a judge at an appeals court would suspend Lt. Ridge Alkonis’ three year sentence for what they insist was an innocent accident.

He was convicted of killing two pedestrians in May 2021 after blacking out at the wheel of the family car.

In an exclusive interview, Alkonis’ wife told CBS News senior foreign correspondent Elizabeth Palmer that she hadn’t understood the verdict when it was read out in court. But her husband understands Japanese, and he did.

“When I saw his face, I knew that we had lost,” she said. “I was heartbroken, and the first thought that came to my mind is I have to drive home and tell my kids that they’re not going to see their father for three years.”

The high court judge did not accept that Alkonis had lost consciousness due to altitude sickness, which was the assessment of the U.S. Navy. Instead, in the judge’s opinion, the Navy officer had dozed off behind the wheel. If he was tired, she said, he should have pulled off of the road.

“But he wasn’t tired,” Brittany Alkonis told CBS News. “He was fine and alert. He had even noticed that I was at risk of getting car sick and told me to be careful.”

The New York Post dropped these details:

A U.S. Navy lieutenant and Mormon missionary living in Japan has been sentenced to what his family calls a “shocking” three years in prison after at least two people were killed in a traffic accident doctors said may have been caused by a medical episode.

The family of Lt. Ridge Alkonis, through information compiled by the Pipe Hitter Foundation (PHF), alleges several violations of the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) between the U.S. and Japan, and some members of Congress are also speaking out against his confinement – which began Tuesday at 1 p.m. Japan Standard Time.

The PHF said in a document describing Alkonis’ situation other military families are now “acutely aware that this terrible situation could have been them” and are in “fear” that SOFA may be allegedly violated again in the future.

Alkonis, who lived with his family in Yokosuka, had just finished a hike on the famed Mount Fuji shortly before he was scheduled to be deployed on the USS Benfold. Outside of his military duties, he was also part of a mission with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.


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