Wife of Navy lieutenant lobbies for his release in Japan


WASHINGTON (NewsNation) — The wife of a U.S. Navy lieutenant is lobbying for her husband’s release after he was sentenced to three years in a Japanese prison after killing two people and severely injuring a third in a car accident that he and his family say was caused by a medical emergency.

It’s a fight Brittany Alkonis never thought she’d have to take on as Lt. Ridge Alkonis, her husband and father to their three kids, has been sitting in a Japanese prison cell since he was sentenced two weeks ago.

Playing the role of advocate and diplomat, Brittany is working desperately to get her husband home; however, on top of being a mom, she says it’s taking a toll on her kids.

“I love them and I want to be there at every available moment, but sometimes I have to go and I have to work to get daddy home. My oldest and my middle child definitely understand that, my youngest not as much. He’s 4; he still thinks when we go back to Japan that daddy’s going to be home, and so that’s hard.

In May 2021, Alkonis was driving with his wife and children when he lost consciousness and control of his car, which drifted and crashed, killing an 85-year-old woman and her son-in-law, according to his family.

The 34-year-old said he was struck with a case of altitude sickness which was supported by a neurologist’s diagnosis, but a panel of three Japanese judges said it was unlikely and maintained he fell asleep and should’ve pulled over.

“I do have significant concerns as I’ve expressed publicly with how this case was handled,” said U.S. Rep. Mike Levin, who has been working with the Alkonis family.

Levin said Lt. Alkonis wasn’t given the normal due process before being jailed, nor was he given a medical exam.

“I do think that it warrants review, ultimately at the White House and I’m hopeful that that will happen,” Levin said.

Meanwhile, Brittany says she’s hopeful but realistic about the challenges that lie ahead, demanding action,

“There is a diplomatic way to get him home. I expect nothing less than that,” Brittany said. “My children deserve to have their father home.”

The couple’s children were in the car during the accident, so there’s a level of trauma that comes along with that. But Brittany said that at this point, they just don’t have the time, energy or resources to deal with that because all of it goes toward trying desperately to get Lt. Alkonis out of prison.

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