crime

3-year-old boy dies after being hit by car on Nagano highway

25 Comments

A three-year-old boy died after he was hit by a car while crossing a highway in Shiojiri, Nagano Prefecture, police said Saturday.

According to police, the incident occurred at around 5 p.m. Friday. The  driver of the car, a 42-year-old woman, has been arrested on suspicion of reckless driving resulting in death.

Police said the boy, Yuhi Nishikata, was crossing National Route 19 when he was hit from the left by a car driven by Aya Shimizu, local media reported. Shimzu was quoted by police as saying she didn't see the boy on the highway.

Yuhi was taken to a hospital in Matsumoto, where he died about 90 minutes later.

Police said Yuhi’s mother had taken him with her to visit a friend’s house nearby. She told police that while she was chatting with her friend, Yuhi apparently wandered off by himself.

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25 Comments
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Terrible tragedy, my thoughts go out to the child and the mother. Only a soulless monster would even think to blame and criticize the mother here, who will never get over the pain of this incident. Little kids will always be little kids, and unless you have them on a leash, can never keep track of them every single second. A 5 year old girl in San Antonio, Texas, was hit and killed by a truck in an aquarium parking lot five days ago when she somehow got away from her parents and darted into its path.

RIP

-13 ( +8 / -21 )

The mother should have been arrested, not the driver... Why?

She told police that while she was chatting with her friend, Yuhi apparently wandered off by himself.

17 ( +23 / -6 )

Unfortunately, having a nice little chat between friends was more important than keeping an eye on little Yuhi.

5 ( +12 / -7 )

"Only a soulless monster would even think to blame and criticize the mother" then who else was responsible for the child's safety?

13 ( +17 / -4 )

"Yuhi apparently wandered off by himself" what that really means is she was so busy chatting she forgot about her kid and didn't realize that he had left.

11 ( +13 / -2 )

The mother may have been 'busy chatting', but I have seen plenty of Japanese mothers who, on purpose, let their kids walk away by themselves, whether in front or behind. I remember seeing a young boy, maybe about 4, walk about 10 metres ahead and cross a busy road. Yes, the pedestrian lights were green, but you NEVER rely on those lights in Japan. The mother didn't seem to worry or care. This is very typical in Japan.

9 ( +12 / -3 )

Pukey's right. I have seen scenes like that far too often, and it scares the crap out of me

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Kids should have freedom to play by themselves, just not on a busy highway at age 3. I also feel for the driver.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

If the driver is going to be charged for what is nothing more than a terrible accident, then the mother should be charged as well.

I mean, if the poor driver is going to be charged with reckless driving resulting in death for this, which clearly was an accident, then the mother should be charged with reckless parenting resulting in death.

Seriously, this is screwed up.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

She told police that while she was chatting with her friend, Yuhi apparently wandered off by himself.

It's the fault of another careless parent, not the driver. I cannot count the amount of times I see toddlers running around unsupervised while their mother (or father) is oblivious to where the kid is or what the kid is doing. Just yesterday I saw a mother walk out of the supermarket with her maybe 2 year old son wondering along 4 or 5 meters behind her. She just went straight to her bicycle and her son walked straight out onto a main road. Luckily there was no traffic at the time, but it was only luck that stop him being killed. This little kid did not deserve to die. His mother deserves a charge of neglect.

11 ( +14 / -3 )

Are there pedestrian crossings on highways ?

Mother to blame only. Sorry for them.

Se has punished herself enough already I believe.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

I think in Japan you always get arrested if you hit and kill someone with your car.

It isn’t just though, hopefully she isn’t charged if the story is as it sounds. A toddler on an expressway is like a scene outta a movie before disaster strikes.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

" while she was chatting with her friend, Yuhi apparently wandered off by himself." i see this all the time on roads with no pavement, like they think some invisible forcefield is protecting them. Keep them close keep them safe and KEEP YOUR BLOOMING EYES OPEN. RIP little one.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

I've driven along route 19 in Nagano more times than I can count. It's two lanes (one each way) and for most of it there's a footpath on both sides. Many old Japanese houses in some areas, nothing in others. In most areas there'd be pretty good visibility, but in some parts (often the built-up ones) you'd have no chance of stopping if a 3-year old ran out into the road.

The road has a 40kmph speed limit, which is crazy as it's in long and straight. You can easily go over 80kmph without battering an eyelid in normal conditions. Fine until something like this happens.

Would be interesting to know if the driver was distracted by something and could have otherwise seen the child, but regardless, I don't blame the driver at all. A 3-year old should never be on a highway. Period.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

mother should be under arrest...

3 ( +5 / -2 )

 Little kids will always be little kids, and unless you have them on a leash, can never keep track of them every single second

If I was standing within walking distance of a highway and I needed to do something that required my undevided attention (never going to happen, but for arguments sake) then I’d put my kid on a leash. Kids will be kids is never an excuse. If you need to chat then you hold your kid or put yourself between them and any potential danger and devote 50% of your attention to the conversation and 50% towards tracking your kid.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

She told police that while she was chatting with her friend, Yuhi apparently wandered off by himself.

Not only have you destroyed your own life and your families, your son is dead and someone else will go to jail for your inability to actually care!

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Children are one's chance at immortality, best to watch and care for them. After all a lot of time and effort went into their creation, best not to waste all that.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

This mother is to blame. Too concerned about gossiping to watch her child. THe poor driver of the car. Now she is to live with this because the mother couldn't do her job

3 ( +3 / -0 )

oldman_13: "Only a soulless monster would even think to blame and criticize the mother here"

You were pretty quick to jump in with that, which indicates to everyone, clearly, that you know on some level the mother is indeed at fault. It's like a gun-nutter rushing to a gun massacre thread to say, "Watch people say guns were a factor!".

Sorry, but she absolutely does bear some responsibility for this. Kids wander off; granted. The point is EVERYONE knows that, and if you know that hanging out and chatting with a friend who lives off an expressway that you can easily wander off onto, and you don't keep extra eyes on your kid, it's your fault.

I just feel sorry for the driver (as well as the poor boy). She is not to blame for this, but because of Japan's inane laws she's going to have to pay an arm and a leg in terms of compensation, and also going to suffer the knowledge and horror of hitting and killing a child.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

We see this too often in Japan, the mother crossing the street with the little toddler following far behind.

Too many! Too many!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

With a heavy heart, I do agree that it is the mother's fault. I mean how long is the chat with your friend to actually realize that your child is missing?

I assumed that their chit chat is outside the house & both of them are so occupied that neither one of them suspected that Yuhi wandered off.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I also have a 3 year old. Whenever we are on the side of the road or train platform, he is either strapped in in a stoller, if not, i always hold his hands and never for a second let go of it. A parent must not take chances.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

If your toddler wandered off and got hit by a drunk driver in the middle of the road who’s fault would it be?

You would be negligent? And the driver should rightfully go to jail. In this case I feel the mother should be punished.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Try watching your kid. Doesn't matter whether the driver was young, old, experienced/not, sober or drunk. Mother let the conversation with friend take precedence over watching her kid. Now the kid is dead. Lesson learned? Hardly.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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