Navy Wife Takes Effort to Free Husband From Japan Jail to White House
Lt. Ridge Alkonis was convicted of falling asleep behind the wheel of his car and crashing into a row of cars, killing two people. But Navy investigators concluded he was suffering from altitude sickness. "It was a medical emergency,” his wife says.
A Navy wife fighting to free her husband from a Japanese jail is taking her battle to the White House.
Lt. Ridge Alkonis was convicted of falling asleep behind the wheel of his car and crashing into a row of cars, killing two people.
The tragedy happened after Alkonis, who was stationed in Japan, had hiked up Mount Fuji with his family. He maintains he didn't fall asleep, and Navy investigators concluded he passed out from altitude sickness.
But a Japanese court convicted him of negligence and sentenced him to three years in jail.
“There was no crime. It was a medical emergency,” Alkonis’s wife Brittany told Inside Edition as supporters took their appeal to President Joe Biden.
When asked if her husband fell asleep at the wheel, Brittany said, “No. He wasn’t tired. He was mid-conversation with my daughter. He was telling me to close my eyes, because I was going to be car sick, and then he just lost consciousness,” Brittany said.
Brittany described the heartbreaking moment their children learned that their father would be going to jail.
“My two daughters just got real quiet. They started crying. My son was the one who was asking, ‘Why does daddy have to go to jail. Jail's for bad people. I don't want daddy to go to jail. Can I go with him?’” Brittany said.
There to show his support was Trevor Reed, the former U.S. Marine who was jailed in Russia for three years before he was released in April.
“Hopefully Ridge has a good chance of our government taking action and doing the right thing and getting him home,” Reed said.
The case was raised at a State Department press briefing on Tuesday.
“It’s caused tremendous heartache for all involved. We’re continuing to monitor the situation with the Department of Defense and our embassy in Tokyo,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price said.
Brittany Alkonis says she'll stay in D.C., away from their home in California, for as long as it takes.
“I need to talk to President Biden. I do believe that he's not in town today, but that's OK. I will still be here whenever he's ready,” Brittany said.
The State Department confirmed they are talking with Japanese officials to try to work out a resolution.
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