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Court Orders U.S. Marine to Pay $574,000 in Deadly Car Accident

June 21, 1996

TOKYO (AP) _ A U.S. Marine must pay $574,000 compensation to the family of three pedestrians killed by her car, with another Marine at the wheel, a court on Okinawa ordered Thursday.

Judge Wataru Nemoto found car owner Alicia L. McDonald guilty in absentia of contributing to the Jan. 7 deaths of a woman and her two daughters 18 miles north of Naha, the capital of Okinawa.

The driver, Cpl. Lori A. Padilla, 20, of Houston was sentenced June 10 to two years in prison for reckless driving.

She had lost control of the car, which ran up on a sidewalk. The accident accelerated local opposition to the U.S. base on Okinawa, following the rape of a schoolgirl in September by three U.S. servicemen.

McDonald has transferred to a base near San Diego and will receive a copy of the ruling through the military, said Tsutomu Aragaki, a lawyer for the victims’ family.

The family is seeking compensation from McDonald, a lance corporal from King George, Va. If both Marines refuse to pay, Aragaki said he will ask the U.S. government to make the compensation itself.

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