Long Arm Of The Law

Fatal crash in Japan prompts criminal charges in Houston.

Published On: Jul 17 2012 11:10:24 AM CDT   Updated On: Jul 17 2012 12:11:12 PM CDT
Houston -

One crash, 4 years, 7,340 miles. Those three items culminated with a federal grand jury in Houston indicting James L. Yeakey on a charge of involuntary manslaughter.

Documents filed in federal court read Yeakey, a Navy dependent, was driving "a motor vehicle while intoxicated and at an excessive rate of speed" when he crashed his car near Camp Foster in Japan. Court documents read the crash led to the death of another Navy dependent by the name of John Benjamin Hall.

According to an article in Stars and Stripes, in March of 2008 Yeakey, then 20, was suspected of driving at double the posted speed limit when he slammed into the back of a car, veered into on-coming traffic and collided with a 2-ton truck. The article states Hall, 17, was in the front seat and another 17 year old was in the back seat. The article states the other teen suffered serious injuries. Read the full article here.

So how does a fatal crash in Japan wind up in Houston federal court? Prosecutors argue that since Yeakey was a Navy dependent, not "ordinarily" a resident of Japan, the offense carries a prison term had it occurred within special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States, the suspected incident occurred outside the jurisdiction any particular State or District and Yeakey's last known address was in Spring, the Southern District of Texas has jurisdiction.

Court records show a bench warrant was issued for Yeakey's arrest this week. I have attached a copy of the indictment for you to read.