crime

2-year-old girl dies in hit-and-run while crossing street in Yokohama

76 Comments

A 2-year-old girl died in a probable hit-and-run on Tuesday after she was hit by a car as she was walking across a street at a pedestrian crossing in Yokohama City, police said.

Police said the girl, Sara Onishi, was walking behind her mother, Mona, 38, at around 11.40 a.m. at a crossing in Nishi Ward, when a car turning right hit Sara and failed to stop at the scene. She was rushed to hospital but was pronounced dead about an hour later.

Police said the woman and her daughter had just attended an event at a nearby kindergarten, and were on their way home when Sara was hit by the car. An eyewitness told police that the woman was walking ahead of her daughter when the incident occurred. He said the girl was screaming but then suddenly became silent.

There were no brake marks left on the road and police are considering the possibility that the driver did not notice the girl before hitting her. They are continuing their search for the driver and vehicle.

© News reports

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RIP little girl, but this could have been avoided if the mother was holding her childs hand while crossing the street, or even pick her up.....she will remember this for the rest of her life.

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As always, the mother 3~5 meters ahead of the child. When will people learn?

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Hold your childs hand on the street. Driver shouldve noticed but this time mother should be charged with man-slaughter!!

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Was Mom teaching the little girl a lesson? Standing and screaming will get you left behind? Two years old, so sad.

Note to Mom; this is not the supermarket! Your an ass and now you must live with it.

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"He said the girl was screaming but then suddenly became silent."-i really didn't need to know that.

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probably

Probable

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I can't count the number of times in all public areas of Japan how many times I see parents walking ahead of their children, with only occassional looks back. Not all parents do this, but a large number do. I don't know if it happens a lot in other countries either. But it's so sad to see these stories constantly happening here, and new parents continue to make the same mistakes that these other irresponsible parents make.

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Since Japan has a penchant for bogus jobs (ie. elevator button-pusher), why don't they have someone teach parents how to be parents?? I don't even have kids and I know well enough to hold the hand of a 2 year-old while crossing the street. There seems to be a big lack of common sense going on.

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The driver most likely couldn't see the very small child, but he probably could see the mother. I know that in America we have a law that pedestrians must be at the very least 2/3rds of the way through the crosswalk before you can drive into it. I don't know if it's a law here. Regardless, the onus was on the mother to help her child across the street. This was absolutely the wrong place to teach a child a lesson about being left behind. On the sidewalk or indoors, I can see the point of teaching a lesson, but in the middle of the F-ing street is brainless and most of the blame goes on the mother in this case.

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I wasn't there to make judgements for what the mom did or didn't do, but I do know whoever didn't stop is an ahole and needs to be punished. Didn't realize he hit a 2 year old girl my butt, you run oversomeone in the daytime you should know it, unless the guy was drunk (which might be the case).

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I don't think walking that far ahead of your kid is normal, but there's no way the driver of the hit and run should be in a car if he/she didn't see the child. It doesn't seem like the person was waiting at the light for the mother to cross before turning... it sounds like they drove through and turned right, which means they were speeding and didn't see the girl, or it was someone with bad vision. The mother deserves a small part of the blame, but I can't see how a driver turning did not notice a child since they would have to be at a distance themselves before turning -- they were either speeding, not paying attention, or just unable to see clearly (vision problems).

There is no mention of whether or not the mother could identify the vehicle/driver, which might indicate speeding if she didn't.

Anyway, my heart goes out to the poor child, and her family, despite the mother's not paying enough attention.

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i can't believe the mother was not holding the little girl's hand when crossing the street !!! the girl might have been screaming / crying because she wanted her mom to wait for her or pick her up. the girl was only 2 years old.. i have a 7-year old son and a 18 months old girl, and i cannot imagine letting them (even my older child) walk behind me while crossing a street.

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just yesterday a little boy, about this age, ran in front of my car. luckily i saw him coming and slowed down soon enough to avoid him. there was some sort of old timer crossing guard standing there, inches from the kid. my wife pointed out the window at the child, to warn the guard. the old geezer just laughed, as if to say 'aren't kids just too funny.' then the kid darted out in front of another car, just missing being clipped again.

finally the father came back and took his son's hand.

what a disgrace.

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Two years old, and the "mother" was not holding her hand!? WTF!!

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In my homecountry (Switzerland) or in Germany for example, Cars must stop at the pedestrian crossing all the time. Of course, sometimes they just drive, but usually it's possible to pass safely the street. There is the nice slogan from Honda, First Men (or mankind), then Machine, why they don't adapt it in Japan's traffic. Why a car is always more important than a human? And Parents, if it's that dangerous in Japan to cross the roads, then for god's sake take your children by the hand. And hit-and-run driver, burn in hell...

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Given the size of a two year old and the many blind spots of a car, not to mention all the other things a driver has to pay attention to, it is quite possible he did not see the child and no fault of his own. Not seeing the child, it is possible he felt or something, but a two year old is so small that it might have been such little effect that he disregarded it. If I stopped my car every time I heard a noise, hit a pothole I did not see, or wondered if I bumped the curb or was it something else, I would be stopping once or twice every day and so would everybody else, and that is not safe either. The bottom line here is that the mother totally failed. To blame the driver, we had to be there and see something very specific.

Anyway, for sad, for everybody involved.

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So sad and so tragic...

Why didn't the mother just hold the girls hand....? Crossing a busy intersection....

What does it take...?

I guess Japanese JUST DON'T GET IT...!

Common Sense!!!!!

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100% mothers fault, I say the driver gets off scott free, and he should. Were it my daughter, she would either been next to me holding her hand or id be carrying her. The mother is obviously a complete moron. In fact, in retrospect, I would switch the mother and the child. Maybe if the child had a mother who cared about her she could grow up with a bright future, while the nimrod that calls herself a "mother" dies and we are -1 useless fleshbag.

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It could've been a "hit" and no run. The average 2 year old would not be seen and probably was hit and then went under the car. It's possible that the driver had no idea what had happened. The mother deserves jail for this.

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Was Mom teaching the little girl a lesson? Standing and screaming will get you left behind? Two years old, so sad. Note to Mom; this is not the supermarket! Your an ass and now you must live with it.

Actually, in some states this mother could be charged with child neglect / willfully endangering the safety of a minor.

You'll never see any parent charged with any crime in Japan, short of physically beating the crap out of a toddler and causing death... But they'll charge a bus driver with professional negligence and arrest him on the spot if he has an accident...

Fricken ridiculous laws, written by kids...

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For the record, Im betting with names like "Sara" and "Mona" the police will give this a truly thorough investigation..... /sarcasm.

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"The mother deserves jail for this."

I think she is suffering enough.

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Am I just goofy? This is a hit and run case, isn't it? It isn't a PROBABLE hit and run case, right? I mean the girl was hit, the car didn't stop. Sad case, I feel sorry for the little girl and her family. I'm sure the mother doesn't need any lessons on how to be a mother right now. She's probably very aware that mistakes were made. I was also wondering about the name. Is the girl's father a foreigner? Just curious, since her name is Sara.

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Maybe if the child had a mother who cared about her

i wouldn't judge the mother too harshly. it's really more of a cultural thing. you see this behavior everyday. sadly it's all too normal and totally acceptable.

think about seat belts. growing up in america our parents never bothered with seat belts. i'm sure they still loved us though. it took the insurance companies and the government to drill seatbelt safety into our heads. we learned and we evolved.

japan needs a little evolving too, i'd say. .

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Yeah, I don't think she necessarily deserves jail time, but it really depends on her feelings about being a parent. If she couldn't be bothered to help her toddler across the street (which suggests she probably wouldn't or hadn't in the future or past), she deserves a little more punishment. If she had a tragic, one-time mental lapse, then her grief is all the punishment she'll need. However, with a lot of the show of indifference so many parents show in this country (again, not singling Japan out, but this happened in Japan and most of us who actually live here can agree that parental skills are for the most part lacking here), it's very easy to imagine she probably won't care as much as a good parent would, and that's what a lot of people are reacting to here.

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kid was probably misbehaving and the mother, not knowing anything about children, just walked away, basically making the child feel that she was abandoning here. The car was probably on small road and probably now doesn't even know he hit her. With your windows up, and the terrible roads these days, he might of thought he just hit a bump. a 2 year old wouldn't cause much crunch. That said, under the Japanese insurance system of placing blame on both parties, 80% mothers fault for not really watching her 2 year old child. 20% for the driver for not driving slower.

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Actually, according to the news at least, this car barreled into a rather narrow one-way street, where this mom and kid happened to be walking. This driver would have hit anyone unlucky enough to be in that particular spot. I take a stroll through the city every evening and some drivers just don't give a hoot, especially taxi drivers. I've been hit once and nowadays I just hide behind a utility pole when I hear a speeding car approaching. As for the driver having heard nothing, I doubt that. The other day I heard a loud bang. Cat being hit by a car. You would notice hitting a child, but as I read often in the news, when people are supposed to take responsibility for their actions, they just run away.

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That's true, it's not like humans, even babies, are made of completely soft material that you wouldn't hear hitting with a car. Have you ever had a rock jump up from the road in front of you (from another car) and hit your hood, bumper or windshield? The rock is a few hundred times smaller than even a toddler and you KNOW you've just been hit by a rock because it makes a really loud sound, even at freeway speed. It's not likely that the driver didn't hear anything when he/she hit the girl. It's hard to absolve the driver in this case, any way you look at it, and it's almost impossible to absolve the mother, for reasons we've already mentioned.

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An eyewitness told police that the woman was walking ahead of her daughter when the incident occurred

How many times does this have to happen????! I am SICK of having to rescue toddlers from the street or grab them off the road around my neighbourhood while the mothers walk ahead totally oblivious. Yes, the driver should have seen her, but equally, however badly behaved she was being, no-one with an ounce of common sense leaves a 2 year old to cross an intersection by themselves.

I also can't believe the driver didn't notice he had hit her. I hit a small bird on the road once and noticed that!

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Okinawamike wrote:

Was Mom teaching the little girl a lesson? Standing and screaming will get you left behind? Two years old, so sad.

Note to Mom; this is not the supermarket! Your an ass and now you must live with it.

Actually, when I was a child my mom did this to me. I understand the lesson. Unlike this woman she was smart enough to know when and where to do it. Outside on the street is just plain stupid.

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She was walking behind her mother? How far behind? Was the mother clear of the crossing and wandering off along the street, or was the girl just a step behind?

As for whether it was a hit and run, that would depend on whether the driver realised he or she had hit someone. Hard to imagine there was nothing to let the driver know, unless he was deaf and the road was outrageously bumpy.

As for the screaming, when I read the article first I assumed she was screaming after being hit, then stopped suddenly. Everyone else seems to take it that she was screaming before being hit. Rereading the article sheds no light on the subject either.

Why so many parents don't even attempt to keep an eye or hand on their kids I'll never know, but it's a tragedy that this poor kid has died, and I hope the mother has nightmares for the rest of her life with the child clutching at her skirt calling "mama, mama, don't leave me ..."

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The driver wasn't caught. Why? There are license plates. People saw it.

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I have chastised my wife so many times for wondering off and leaving our 4y/o daughter just standing next to the road by herself or letting her walk 4 or 5m behind her and, of course, she just looks at me with the standard Japanese defiant belligerence as if I'm picking on her. I am about to print this article and make my wife eat it for dinner! - As for the driver: Hit and run is becoming SOP in Japan! Hope they catch him.

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People become complacent here about road dangers. Otherwise, they would just be a nervous wreck. Scooters can't keep up with traffic, two lane one lane roads with kids playing, bicycles, pedestrians etc. One cannot even walk out of ones front door without a car possibly hitting you. Blind corners everywhere. People become complacent. Very sad for this family. How I miss the good old USA in this regards.

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All manner of road dangers are compacted here, where street construction FOLLOWED housing and building construction. It's why there's not a lot of grid-pattern street setups here (at least from everything I've seen from east Japan). It's kind of counter-intuitive, then, that people would be so complacent with these very dangerous road hazards everywhere, yet it's true, for the most part Japanese people don't pay attention.

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This is totally the mothers fault, why would you NOT take your childs hand and cross the street, of course the driver can't see a 2 year old, the little girl is not tall enough... RIP

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i have a theory that the japanese don't make any use of their peripheral vision. the amount of times i approach someone in the supermarket and they seem completely oblivious of my presence until i'm peering down on them saying SUMIMASEN

dunno about you lot but it's very rare that i don't notice people entering my personal space

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Griff - haven't you heard the famous line that "We Japanese consider the people around us"?

That's the excuse they give for not blowing their nose, but when it comes to a matter of actual thought - such as whether or not to leave a toddler on a pedestrian crossing - it is exposed for the vapid platitude it is.

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Why Mom was not holding the child's hand is totally beyond my comprehension. As for the driver, it is virtually impossible to hit something the size of a two year old child and not be aware of it! I once hit a cat at around 40mph, cost me 200 bucks for a new front fender! RIP little one. As for the driver and mom I doubt peace will ever be an option!

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the car hit the kid but failed to stop? yes, maybe the mother is at fault and what about the driver?????? the driver sucks and deserves jail time.

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consideration is one thing, i'd just like people to see me coming... and perhaps not close a door in my face once in a while.

but getting off topic, here...

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Maybe the windows were fogged up. I saw bad driving today, the rain misted up a window, and the car hit a bicycle, whose rider was holding an umbrella.

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i bet the mother wishes she was holding her child's hand as they were crossing the street. this could have been prevented if the mother had only done what she was supposed to do; that is, making sure the child was not in any kind of danger.

bad mom plus inattentive driver equals dead baby. very sad.

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Is the girl's father a foreigner? Just curious, since her name is Sara.

I know a Sara and both parents are Japanese....

Kindergarten function - where was the crossing guard? Why wasn't the mum holding her hand? Why don't Japanese stop at pedestrian crossings when there is someone on them?

Who to blame? Too much choice!

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A lot of you guys seem to be missing the point: YES, it's bad mom wasn't holding the kids hand -- clearly VERY bad; but you do not drive into a kid not seeing it if you're turning at an intersection unless:

1) you're not watching the road. 2) you're speeding. 3) you're vision is extremely poor. 4) you're old and affected by any of the above.

It could also be a combination of 1 and 2 (and 4), and in any case you should not be behind the wheel.

The kid behind a parked car? Yes, I can see the blind spots coming into play even if the driver decides to back up or go forward directly after the mother passes. If the kids crossing the road after the stop light comes on and the driver accelerates at a green, I can see it. But turning into an intersection you see what's on the road, be it a manhole, a pigeon, or a little kid, or you simply should not be behind the wheel. The kid didn't dart out in front of the car -- she was behind her mom.

Until there are other factors we're not hearing, such as a sidewalk railing that obstructed views and the cars ride the corners, the driver bears the brunt of the blame. And yes, if you hit a child, you stop the car. What's more, as some people have posted, other news sources state the person was speeding.

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I think the mother has been punished enough with the loss of her kid, no? While i can understand (to an extent) why people feel the need to rail at the mother, why is the driver getting no stick for this??

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Mz: Because it was the mothers fault she was not attending her own child. A 2 year old has no idea about the social rules of a Japanese crossing.

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It's the drivers fault 100%. In Japan and even in the US, pedestrians in a cross-walk always have the right of way. Some would argue the mother should have done more by having the daughter walk in front of her, however, that does not take away from the fact that they were both in a cross-walk and the driver hit the girl.

The mother holds no blame here, it's the driver.

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The mother holds no blame here, it's the driver.

Mother of the year material.

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I giv it 50-50 mother and driver. The driver should have been aware. The mother also.

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there's not enough information to blame anything on the driver yet. for all we know, he is not even aware he hit the small child. if he is aware he hit the child, then yes he is truly a despicable human being.

I read this and thought, geez, this could happen to anybody, even the most attentive driver. a right turn in Japan means the car has to go across the intersection. Was it a large intersection or a small intersection? was it a busy intersection or a quiet intersection. were there a bunch of cars making right turns ahead of him/her which could have prevented the driver from seeing such a small child? How far was the mother from the child? Did they get seperated between cars crossing the intersection and the child panic'd possibly darting in front of the car that hit her? Was it raining cutting down visibility? All sorts of factors exist that noone reading the article can possibly fathom. Those that do, are jumping to conclusion.

The only conclusion that can be drawn is the mother total lack of regard for the safety of the child. She should have not stepped off the curb without her child by her side. It was her bad decision that led to the death of her child, it is her that bears ultimate responsibility.

What she did was akin to leaving a loaded weapon within easy reach of a child. No sympathy for mom, if she is haunted by this the rest of her life, she brought it upon herself.

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Why Mom was not holding the child's hand is totally beyond my comprehension. As for the driver, it is virtually impossible to hit something the size of a two year old child and not be aware of it! I once hit a cat at around 40mph, cost me 200 bucks for a new front fender! RIP little one. As for the driver and mom I doubt peace will ever be an option!

I agree about the Mom holding her childs hand. Though I certainly don't condemn her for it. It was her bad decision that allowed this to occur, a decision I'm sure she is in agony over having made.

Regarding the driver. It would be extremely easy to make a turn, and not notice there was a little kid there. I was driving with my brother, and he almost didn't notice a full grown adult. Add the thought, that if you hit something on a turn like that, you'd normally wouldn't think you hit something, but rather that you probably hit the curb as you were making the turn. Small child, low visibility. I'm not saying he isn't guilty of hit and run, its just that its possible it truly was an accident, and that the driver really didn't realize he'd hit a child.

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fusedentropy: Correct by law it's the drivers fault, even if someone jumps in front of your car it is still the car's fault. The cause of the accident itself in this case is the mothers fault for leaving her child unattended.

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don't expect fuse to get it. the liberal mindset requires a victim and a scapegoat.

the victim is not the child, its the mother who lost the child. the scapegoat is the driver of the big mean automobile who cut down the child with no regard for human life.

they can't help themselves.

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The driver was probably drunk.

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Why a car is always more important than a human?

Putting this in terms of rock paper scissors... rock is a car, scissors is a human.

think about seat belts. growing up in america our parents never bothered with seat belts. i'm sure they still loved us though.

Very good point. People keep talking as if the mother could care less. If it's not in the culture, not a norm, then it is hard to blame an individual in that situation. In hindsight, I am sure she would have done differently. Even the most careful of parents can unwittingly let their child do something stupid and can easily be the target of ridicule. However, until that norm is changed, what's solved?

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pedestrian crossing should be abolished in Japan, japanese drivers ignore them and they give pedestrians a false sense of security.

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gogogo: Cause? The mother and child were in teh cross walk, crossing the street at, what I assume, was a green light. So the cause was the driver not stopping for crossing pedestrians.

Look, even if the child stopped in the middle of a cross walk - the light was green. The driver should stop and wait. It's the drivers responsibility.

What you are telling me is that if I'm driving down the road and I see a person standing in teh street - I have every right to run that person over. Why, because I as the driver have the right-of-way.

That is not true at all, in Japan nor in the US and I'm pretty sure also true in the UK.

Now the idiot standing in the street may cause an accident and may get hit by a car - BUT, if the driver sees that person, the driver is obliged to make every effort to stop. The driver cannot just ignore the person and run the person over - even if the person were to be an idiot.

The driver should have seen a 2yr old child crossing in the cross walk. The driver should have waited and not just run the kid over.

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I doubt there was no light. There is no right on red in Japan. The car was making a right and the mom/kid were crossing. So, either the driver blew a red light which is doubtful or there was no light and the driver missed seeing the kid.

and, of course, if you hit something you know it.

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There is no right on red in Japan.

because this country drives on the left. it seems that left on red is legal. if it isn't then it's a law broken on a continual basis! i'm fairly sure it is legal. i actually think the left/right on red is quite a good idea, in terms of smoothing traffic flow. the issue is that it requires drivers to make responsible decisions. i [i]hope[/i] that drivers are taught that left on red is legal but that pedestrians have priority.

either way, it seems highly likely that the driver couldn't see the girl at all. if he was traveling at low speed he may not even have realised that he hit her. the mother should have been taking greater care of her

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Why was she walking behind her mother?? Isn't it commonsense for adults to hold the hands of little children when they cross the street?? Did the mother think her 2 year old was so mature she didn't need to be held?? I would love to know what on earth the mother was doing..... emailing.... chatting on the cell phone..... either way i bet she will regret for the rest of her life not holding her childs hand. RIP angel.

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Doesnt matter if theres a light or not. Drivers just dont stop and take a look here. They go around corners at deadly speeds. Horrible drivers in this country. Im almost hit everyday at the same light after school. There are dozens of kids crossing at this light too. Very dangerous. Im always wondering why the cops are never out to stop the recklessness of drivers especially when countless kids bike and walk to school in Japan. Irresponsible parenting on the mothers part, also.

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@disillusioned.

I also use these types of articles in a beneficial way. Every time my wife gets one of those pangs to move back to Japan, I present her with one of these stories while she is changing our infant and her urges to reinstall are instantly quelled.

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The fact of the matter, the biggest part of this matter is THE CHILD WAS WALKING BEHIND HER MOTHER. In tis case the mother should have been the one injured and she would have probably survived. God I am sick of this type of neglect. Damn man.

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Time to ban right turns on intersections I think. Put up proper lights to tell people its safe to turn right instead of trying to sneak across between people on foot, cars shouldnt be allowed near a crossing when there are people on it.

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LEFT turn :/

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fusedentropy: read the article the mother was walking several meters ahead of her child not looking and not taking care of the child. If you turned a blind corner in a van NO ONE would see a 2 year old child because they are too small and the car front too large.

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How tall is a 2 years old child? 80 cm? J drivers cannot spot anything smaller then an elephant, so I don't think she had any chance on the crossing to be recognized.

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First of all, right turning by cars at intersections are quite dangerous for pedestrians. The driver probably was trying to move quickly enough to escape the incoming traffic (opposit) his/her direction and it leaves him with paying less attention. Yes, the baby is small, it could have been difficult for the driver to see her fast enough to stop, considering he was trying to turn right as quickly as possible. I think a 2 year old infant should never be allowed to cross the road without holding her hand or holding her.

I blame the mother for neglecting the child I blame the driver for paying less attention traffic lights should be such that: pedestrians moving, cars stop ie gree for pedestrians and red for all cars
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I also use these types of articles in a beneficial way. Every time my wife gets one of those pangs to move back to Japan, I present her with one of these stories while she is changing our infant and her urges to reinstall are instantly quelled.

Yes, these accidents happen only in japan and nowhere else.

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right turning by cars at intersections are quite dangerous for pedestrians

one last time, LEFT TURN!! japan drives on the LEFT, therefore it is turning LEFT on a signal that is legal!! turning right on a red is legal in america, because america drives on the right

LEEEEFFFFT!!!

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It is easy to pass Critism here yet for the Mother who has lost a child, she will always be asking herself if she could have done something differently - this happens to us all in such situations. Perhaps she left the child on the "spur of the moment" because it was complaining so much and causing here stress... who knows except herself ?

For the driver of the car - I can't pass any form of judgement since I've not got any information upon the road condition (full-of potholes, upon a hill, etc.. to make a judgement... was such information given out ?)

Personally, I would enforce holding of hands whilst crossing a Road with minors.. the Japanese (?) way of having someone hold their hands vertically in the air actually makes some sense, albeit stupidly when you see some adults doing so when in groups of other adults, but for kids - I'd encourage it.

Back in the UK, a long time ago, the Government introduced a road safety campaign called the Green-Cross Code, in which three simple words were reiterated time & time again: Stop, Look, & Listen. Perhaps the same could be done here ?

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mmwk2008: What do you mean? We know she left her child alone, it doesn't matter her state of mind, if she left in the "spur of the moment" it is still the mothers fault. She has to live with her child dieing but also has to live with the fact she left her child alone for whatever reason and if she had not there is a 99% chance the child did not have to die.

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I can not even try to imagine how much pain and sorrow this family must be going through, yes the mother was careless, but I do pray and hope that the hit and run driver burns in hell for all of eternity! The sweet, innocent 2 year old girl, RIP. May we all take more care of our children and learn to drive safer and SLOWER!!!

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it seems that left on red is legal.

Left on red is only legal if there is a white sign with a blue arrow pointing left on it at the intersection. Otherwise, it is illegal.

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Try crossing a street in Los Angeles or any major suburban location....I'll take Tokyo or anyplace in Japan over Southern California...even though state law states pedestrians have the right of way...the minute your foot leaves the curb....your fair game for someone driving and talking on a cellphone...illegal now..what a joke....eating, reading the newspaper, etc, etc....I have stayed in many parts of Tokyo and obeyed the traffic signals...no problem....but the mother should have been holding her daughter's hand or carrying her across the intersection...common sense.

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