US naval officer in Japan faces prison over deadly crash

WASHINGTON (AP) – A U.S. Navy lieutenant in Japan is appealing a three-year prison sentence for a car crash that killed two people last year. Ridge Alkonis’ family says he suffered from acute mountain sickness and passed out behind the wheel while driving after a visit to Mount Fuji.

Japanese prosecutors and a judge say he was feeling drowsy and should have pulled over. Alkonis’ parents are asking for mercy because they say that while the crash was a tragedy, it was also an accident.

He’s been sentenced to three years in prison, but has appealed, and a hearing is set for Wednesday. Alkonis is at home in Japan pending the appeal, and the Navy says he remains on active duty.