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Loved ones of U.S. Navy Officer imprisoned in Japan work to get him home

Ridge Alkonis is serving three years in prison for a car crash that killed two Japanese citizens.

SAN DIEGO — The loved ones of a U.S. Navy Officer imprisoned in Japan gathered in front of the Japanese Friendship Bell on Shelter Island Sunday. They prayed for healing and peace for everyone involved in this tragic incident.

Ridge Alkonis is serving a three-year prison term for a car crash that killed two people.

His parents, Suzi and Derek Alkonis, explained what it feels like knowing their son is in prison on the other side of the world.

"It breaks your heart on so many levels. He is an extraordinary human being, and he is in a cell all day. That's tragic. The accident was tragic," Derek Alkonis said.

They say he was driving down Mount Fuji with his wife and three kids in Japan in May of 2021. During the car ride, he went unconscious and crashed, killing two people.

"They held him for 26 days in solitary confinement, interrogations all day, and no legal representation. they do things differently," Suzi Alkonis said.

The Japanese courts deemed the crash negligent and gave him three years in prison. His term began in July 2022.

"I look out and see this beautiful ocean, and he can't see it. He can't feel it, and we feel for the Japanese family. I can't emphasize that enough," Derek Alkonis said.

His family and friends have rallied around him and gained support from around the country and even President Joe Biden's attention.

"From what I understand, there were conversations with the president and the prime minister when he was visiting. They are working towards a solution to get him home," Suzi Alkonis said.

They will keep shining light on his story until they get him home.

The Biden administration invited Ridge Alkonis's wife to attend the State of the Union address, which will be held Tuesday. 

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