US soldier charged in Japan with hit and run

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TOKYO (AP) — Japanese prosecutors charged a U.S. soldier Thursday in connection with a fatal hit-and-run accident on the southern island of Okinawa.

A spokesman for the prosecutor’s office in Okinawa’s local capital, Naha, said the soldier had been charged with negligence resulting in the death on Nov. 7 of a 66-year-old man. The spokesman refused to give further details and spoke on condition of anonymity because of office regulations.

Maj. James Crawford, a spokesman for the U.S. Army in Japan, said the soldier, based at Torii Station on Okinawa, was handed over to Japanese custody. He identified the soldier as Clyde Gunn, a 27-year-old staff sergeant from Oxford, Mississippi.

“We are cooperating with the Japanese authorities,” Crawford said.

Japanese investigators say the soldier raised suspicions when he took his military-registered car, which had dents and blood stains, to a repair shop. Samples collected from the car matched those of the victim, police said.

The soldier has been interviewed several times by local police.

Under the Status of Forces Agreement between the two countries, American servicemen suspected of committing a crime off-base can be tried in a Japanese court, although the U.S. isn’t obligated to hand over suspects before they are charged.