(NewsNation) — Brittany Alkonis, the wife of a U.S. Navy lieutenant sentenced to three years in a Japanese prison after killing two people in a car accident, says she and her kids aren’t leaving Washington, D.C., until her husband is home.
“I have to hold my kids on a daily basis as they cry, and say ‘Mommy, when is dad coming home?'” Brittany Alkonis said.
Brittany Alkonis has been coming to the nation’s capital to organize rallies and make her case outside the White House for her husband’s freedom.
“Every single day that he is gone just compounds the pain,” she said.
Not helping matters is that Brittany Alkonis feels her family is in the dark on efforts to free her husband.
“If we were able to get that direct line of communication and I wasn’t getting things third- or fourth-hand, I would feel like we could finally go home,” she said.
Lt. Ridge Alkonis, 34, was driving with his wife and children during a trip to Mount Fuji when he lost consciousness and control of his car. The car drifted and crashed, killing an 85-year-old woman and her son-in-law.
While Alkonis said he was struck with a case of altitude sickness, which a neurologist’s diagnosis confirmed, a panel of Japanese judges maintained he fell asleep and should have pulled over.
U.S. Rep. Mike Levin, (D-California) and Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) have been trying to help the Alkonis family, as they don’t believe the lieutenant was given proper due process. Lawmakers, however, tell NewsNation it’s a complicated diplomatic situation, because Japan is an ally.
“We need the U.S.- Japan relationship to remain strong,” Lee said. “That’s why we can’t allow something like this to get in the way of that.”
So now, Lee and Alkonis’ family want the president to step in.
“He, as a military dad, can appreciate what this would feel like,” Lee said. “He’s going to want to bring Ridge home.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.