Ocean Springs dad heading to Japan to support son accused in fatal accident

By Trang Pham-Bui – bio | email

OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) –  Buddy Gunn's garage in Ocean Springs is filled with pictures of his middle son.  Drew Gunn stunned his family when he joined the Army in 2006.

"Drew decided it was his turn to serve and he trained himself and prepared himself to serve us all well," Buddy Gunn said.

Drew Gunn completed Special Forces training and Ranger School.  He is also a Combat Medic.  His dad always considered Drew an unlikely soldier.  That's because Drew was a talented football player and artist.  He was also an opera singer who trained at the New England Conservatory in Boston and he studied jazz and modern music at Boston's Berkley College of Music.

"He just fascinates the men in his unit because he can stand up and sing a cappella, whether it's opera or jazz or modern.  So Drew is an interesting person, a delightful person, who was caught in a situation in a foreign country," said Gunn.

That situation was a tragic accident on November 7, 2009, in which a 66-year-old Japanese man died.  The 27-year-old Gunn was stationed in Okinawa at the time.  He was charged with Negligence in the Operation of a Motor Vehicle.

"I was concerned because Drew Gunn was in situation, a system that I didn't understand. I was also very concerned for the family of the victim of the accident, because Drew was doing nothing but driving home.  It happened on a very narrow, dark, unlit road, lined with cane fields," said Gunn.

Buddy Gunn is also an attorney.  He is worried that Japanese authorities will treat the accident as a criminal case instead of a civil one, which could mean jail time.  Gunn has hired a Japanese attorney and a military attorney to represent his son.

"I'm a very optimistic person and I feel like when all the facts are out that it will be seen as an accident as we would see it, as we do see it here in this country.  I trust that at the end of the day, that the Japanese authorities will see it the same," said Gunn.

Buddy Gunn has already spent three weeks in Japan and he will return to that country in about a week.  He and other family members plan to take turns being in Japan to support Drew until the case is resolved.  Drew is being held by Japanese authorities in Naha, the capital of Okinawa.

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