A Marine whose actions sparked a temporary alcohol ban for troops in Japan following a November fatal drunk driving accident recently was sentenced.
After pleading guilty last month to the drunk driving death of a 61-year-old Japanese man, Lance Cpl. Nicholas James-McLean was sentenced Wednesday to four years in prison with hard labor, Stars and Stripes reported.
The 22-year-old Marine appeared before a three-judge panel in Naha District Court for the sentencing in the head-on collision that killed Hidemasa Taira, Stars and Stripes said.
James-McLean’s blood alcohol content was three times Japan’s legal limit when it was tested four hours after the accident. Japan’s legal limit is .03 percent, much lower than the typical U.S. limit of .08.
The Okinawa-based Marine only sustained minor injuries from the crash while Taira died in a hospital from bleeding and chest wounds.
At his March 19 trial, where James-McLean pleaded guilty, he called his actions stupid: “I know his family will never forgive me, and I will never forgive myself, but all I can say is I’m sorry,” he said to prosecutors, Stars and Stripes reported.
Following the November accident, U.S. Forces Japan issued a ban on alcohol consumption for U.S. forces in Japan and restricted Okinawa-based troops to the base and residences.
The alcohol ban and curfew were lifted in December.
Some curfew restrictions remained in place for E-5s and below.
James-McClean can still appeal the sentence.
Shawn Snow is the senior reporter for Marine Corps Times and a Marine Corps veteran.