Honshū, Japan – On Saturday, May 29, 2021, a U.S. Navy sailor, his wife, their three kids, and their dog drove several hours to hike on Mt. Fuji with a trip to a specialty ice cream shop as a treat afterward. They were able to make it to about 7,000 feet before turning around, hiking down the hill, and starting the short 30-minute drive to get ice cream.
As they neared their destination, the sailor, Ridge, was chatting with his oldest daughter when mid-sentence he lost consciousness. His daughter yelled and kicked his chair and yelled “wake up” but he didn’t wake up. The vehicle drove into a small parking lot, hitting several cars and some people. Tragically several were injured, and one person died later at the hospital.
Ridge and his family are currently stationed in Japan. His ship, USS Benfold, is scheduled to deploy soon so they were trying to pack as much family fun into their last few weeks before deployment as possible.
Unlike here in America, in Japan, if you have an accident and cause damage, injury or death, it is a crime. Ridge was taken from the scene to the local police station where he remains. He was not taken to a hospital to be examined. He is held alone in a cell. He is interrogated several times a day. According to Japanese law, he can be held in this cell for up to 23 days. At that time, he will be charged and released to await trial.
There are two JAG lawyers and a Navy chaplain in Ridge’s ward. They have been an invaluable help. The chaplain is able to visit more often with fewer restrictions. The ward is helping with rides, childcare, and meals.
Fortunately, the Navy does not view this as a crime and is working to make sure Ridge is in a good place when this is over.
According to the base legal counsel, barring a miracle, Ridge will probably be found guilty. If found guilty we can only hope for probation rather than prison. Ridge has asked for the combined faith, fasting, and prayers of his family. He told his wife that “the family works miracles, and we need a miracle.”
The family is calling for faith, fasting, and prayers on behalf of their son, Ridge, and his family during this challenging time.