The Guardian: The head of space policy for the US joint chiefs of staff at the Pentagon has pleaded not guilty to two counts of causing injury by careless driving in North Yorkshire.
Benjamin Oakes, 46, is accused of causing a collision that left two 15-year-old boys seriously injured outside Ashville College in Harrogate.
He appeared at Harrogate magistrates court on Friday morning, where he confirmed his name and address and entered his not guilty pleas.
Oakes is a colonel in the US military who has worked in a range of high-level and often sensitive roles for the Pentagon and air force. According to his LinkedIn profile, which was taken down shortly before the plea hearing, Oakes has been serving as the chief of space policy for the joint chiefs of staff, a body of the most senior leaders from the US armed forces.
Just outside Harrogate is RAF Menwith Hill, an electronic monitoring base. The large facility is jointly operated by the UK and US and has a significant presence of military and intelligence officers from agencies including the UK’s GCHQ and the US National Security Agency.
In 2017 the UK government disclosed that the US had more than 600 military personnel, contractors and civilians working at the base alongside their British counterparts.
Oakes was granted unconditional bail before his trial at York magistrates court in December.
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