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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Teen doing 50 kph when he hit victims


KYOTO — The unlicensed teen who drove a minivehicle into a line of schoolchildren Monday in the city of Kameoka, Kyoto Prefecture, leaving two dead and injuring eight others, accelerated to about 50 kph just before the impact, police sources said Tuesday.

News photo
Playing it safe: Police and other adults lead children across a road Tuesday in Kameoka, Kyoto Prefecture, near where an unlicensed youth drove a car into a crowd of kids and grown-ups, killing two and injuring eight the previous day. KYODO

The speed limit on the road is 40 kph, the sources said.

The 18-year-old, who was arrested Monday, told investigators he lost consciousness and only became aware afterward that he had run people down.

The police believe the boy dozed off at the wheel after driving around all night with little sleep.

The police also arrested two passengers for allegedly abetting the unlicensed driver.

The police said they referred the boy to prosecutors on suspicion of failing to exercise due care required in driving a motor vehicle and causing the death and injury of others and of driving without a license.

The two passengers were also referred to the prosecutors on suspicion of violating the 1960 road traffic law, which requires all drivers to be licensed.

The Penal Code sets penalties of imprisonment of up to seven years or a fine of up to ¥1 million for those who fail to exercise due care required in driving a vehicle and thereby cause the death or injury of another.

News photo
A woman holds her son as she weeps Tuesday at the site where a teen driving without a license struck and killed a woman and a 7-year-old girl and injured eight others in Kameoka, Kyoto Prefecture, the day before. KYODO PHOTO

None of the three boys, all aged 18, has a driver's license. They told investigators that they drove the car in the cities of Kyoto and Kameoka all night before visiting a fast food shop in Kameoka shortly before the accident.

The owner of the minivehicle was found to be a man living in the city of Nantan, also Kyoto Prefecture.

Investigators plan to question the man on suspicion of allowing the boy to drive without a license.

In Tokyo on Tuesday, Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Minister Hirofumi Hirano told reporters his ministry will look into the safety of current school-commuting roads nationwide.

At Ansho Elementary School in Kameoka, the school attended by the victims, the principal, Yoshinori Yuasa, asked all pupils to say a silent prayer.

In Monday's traffic accident, a 7-year-old schoolgirl and an adult woman were killed. In addition, eight people were injured, two of whom are in serious condition, police said.

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The Japan Times

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