TACOMA, WASH., SEPT. 29 -- A soldier whose civilian plane nearly collided with President Reagan's helicopter in August was given a more severe penalty for being absent without leave (AWOL) than his lawyer had indicated, a newspaper reported today.
Pvt. Ralph W. Myers was sentenced to 30 days of extra duty and 30 days restriction at Fort Lewis, reduction in grade to the lowest enlisted rank and loss of one-half of one-month's pay, The News Tribune of Tacoma reported.
Marc Goldstein, Myers' attorney in Newport Beach, Calif., said last month that Myers was sentenced only to 30 days restriction and loss of one-half of one month's pay.
The sterner sentence, however, is still less than the maximum penalty for being absent without leave.
In an interview Tuesday with The Associated Press, Goldstein said the sentence reported by the newspaper is essentially what he described earlier. He said Myers already was at the lowest rank when the incident occurred and that extra duty was not that significant.
Officials at Fort Lewis, just south of Tacoma, had refused to disclose Myers' sentence, saying it was confidential and legally protected information under federal regulations.
The newspaper said it learned of the official penalty through a Freedom of Information Act request.