You will be redirected to the page you want to view in  seconds.

Report: Sailor abandoned friend after fatal fall from train

Oct. 21, 2013 - 05:43PM   |  
  • Filed Under

A Japan-based sailor found dead last year face down on a train platform with empty cans of alcohol near his body wasn’t alone the night he died — and the sailor who was with him has been kicked out of the Navy, Stars and Stripes reported.

Initial Japanese media reports said Gunner’s Mate 2nd Class Samuel Lewis Stiles, 25, was climbing on top of a train last October when he was shocked by an overhead power line and fell to his death. But in a report Sunday, Stars and Stripes cites Navy documents showing Stiles died of respiratory failure brought on by a spinal fracture, not electrical shock.

Stripes also reported Stiles’ friend, GM2 David Lange, witnessed the accident but didn’t seek medical attention for, or act to save, his fellow sailor, according to a Navy investigation.

Lange pleaded guilty to multiple charges at a September court-martial in Yokosuka — failure to obey an order, making false official statements, drunk and disorderly conduct, and failure to render aid — according to the Navy’s list of court-martial verdicts from that month. Despite his plea, the judge found Lange not guilty of failing to render aid; he was convicted on the rest of the charges and given a bad-conduct discharge, reduced in rank to E-1, fined $10,000 and jailed for eight months.

Stars and Stripes reported the initial investigation into Stiles’ death found it was a result of misconduct and not in the line of duty. But Adm. Cecil Haney, then-commander of Pacific Fleet, reversed that finding in his final endorsement, signed Sept. 6, the newspaper reported.

Haney stated there was evidence Lange lied to investigators and had “abandoned” his friend on the platform after Stiles fell from the top of the train, Stripes reported. Haney called Stiles’ actions “careless” rather than criminal, the report said.

Stiles had been assigned to Navy Munitions Command, East Asia Division, Detachment Sasebo, since October 2010. He enlisted in September 2006 and had previously served aboard the aircraft carrier Carl Vinson.

Answers by RallyPoint

Join trending discussions in the military's #1 professional community. See what members like yourself have to say from across the DoD.

More In News

Start your day with a roundup of top defense news.

VA Home Loan

Search By:

Product Options:
Zip Code:

News for your in-box

Sign up now for free Military Times E-Reports. Choose from Money and Education. Subscribers: log in for premium e-newsletters.

This Week's Army Times

This Week's Army Times

CrossFit vs. unit PT
Troops will do the training plans in a $2.5 million study

Subscribe for Print or Digital delivery today!

MilitaryTimes Green Trusted Classifieds Looking to buy, sell and connect on Military Times?
Browse expanded listings across hundreds of military installations.
Faces of valorHonoring those who fought and died in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.
hall of valorThe Hall of Valor is a searchable database of valor award citations collected by Doug Sterner, a Vietnam veteran and Military Times contributing editor, and by Military Times staff.

All you need to know about your military benefits.

Benefits handbook

Guard & Reserve All you need to know about the Guard & Reserve.

guard and reserve handbook