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US Officer Must Pay Family of Teen

December 25, 1997

TOKYO (AP) _ A Japanese court ordered a U.S. Navy officer today to pay $284,000 to the family of a teen-ager killed in an Okinawa traffic accident.

The Naha District Court said Senior Chief Petty Officer Timothy Bovill, 35, would have to pay the parents of Teppei Ebihara because of negligence in the death.

The car driven by Bovill struck Ebihara’s motorcycle on a highway in central Okinawa on Feb. 22, 1996, according to the ruling. Ebihara, a student, was 19.

The presiding judge of the Naha court, Wataru Nemoto, said Bovill’s negligence was the cause of the accident. The serviceman was off duty at the time of the crash.

The judge, however, said the victim was riding his minibike on the sidewalk in violation of traffic rules, thus reducing by nearly half the amount demanded by the parents.

In a separate court ruling last year, Bovill, of Columbia, Md., was sentenced to one year in prison with three year’s suspension of sentence for his role in the accident.

Following that ruling, the defendant was freed and returned to the United States, defense lawyer Masayuki Akamine told The Associated Press.

Akamine said if Bovill does not appeal within two weeks, today’s ruling becomes final.

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