7 injured after car hits pedestrians in Kobe; driver arrested


Seven people were injured after a car jumped the curb and hit pedestrians in Kobe on Tuesday morning.

Police said five pedestrians, the driver of the car and his son, who was in the front passenger's seat of the car, were injured in the incident that occurred just after 11 a.m. on a busy sidewalk at an intersection near the north exit of JR Sannomiya Station in Chuo Ward, Fuji TV reported.

The car plowed into the pedestrians as it was making a right turn and then hit a large bronze statue and stopped.

The driver, Kunikazu Sawai, 63, has been arrested on a charge of reckless driving resulting in injury, police said, adding that a 44-year-old woman and her 14-year-old daughter suffered severe head injuries and are in a serious condition in hospital. Sawai and his 22-year-old son suffered light injuries, police said.

Sawai was quoted by police as saying he doesn't remember what happened.

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Drunk? Epilepsy? How else can he not remember anything unless he was drunk or is diseased?

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

I went and had a look as there were 4 choppers over head and hundred of police, the pieces doesnt explain that the car travelled about 50m before coming to a standstill, it was a white medium size toyota. The area where he mounted the pavement is next to a slip road used to drop people off at JR sannomiya and often bottle necks with lot of honking of horns and shouting. The scene looked more like a terrorism attack that a car crash so many officers etc.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Well, the passenger can tell what happened. At least according to one witness, the car never attempted to hit the brakes.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

sanjigen: exactly. Not a peep from the male passenger thus far (reported here). Maybe he 'suddenly doesn't remember' either?

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Male passenger, aged 22, is the son of the driver and is unlikely to contribute any useful information.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Someone who knows him said on TV that it's his third accident...after the last one he had 'head surgery' and was left with shaking hands and a slow gait. Maybe he passed out or something. The whole accident was caught on a dash cam, and he never hit the brakes.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The accident:

And the aftermath.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

He might be suffering from early stage of dementia or a lack of sleeping...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

There's not really anything to be gained by guessing what happened. Clearly the police need to investigate and the driver needs a full medical examination.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I feel like having read and heard this kind of similar incidents by elderly drivers many times in the past, if not 100 times, if I'm correct. Now it's really high time to work out measures for preventing a recurrence of it.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

I just saw the news and the accompanying video and it was a woman who was driving, they even showed her at work and in the cop car...confused.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

It was a very long- haired man. The headlines all read '63-year-old man arrested'.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The scene looked more like a terrorism attack that a car crash so many officers etc.

Even my minor accidents/traffic stops brought at least 10 officers. This Kobe accident is a year's work for the police of Sannomiya.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@ DaDude

Yes your right but as i watched the 4 choppers over head and the 2-300 police etc I could help but this, how much is this costing and is it not over the top.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This guy should not have been driving if he is not lying about not remembering anything. I suspect the women who suffered severe head injuries were probably in back and not wearing seat belts. Fortunately no one was killed. I hope something can be done about the statue.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

@Kobe White Bar Owner

I know what you mean by it looking more like a terror attack sence than an accident. Back a few months ago when the car flew through a crossing intersection in umeda by the hankyu hotel it had a similar feel. 4 helicopters above, ambulance, police cars, and even some fire trucks cluttering the streets. Officers taking witness statements and going into restaurants, like the one I was in, and asking if any one had or was able to see what had happened.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Kabukilover - indeed, they likely weren't wearing seat belts, given that they were pedestrians.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Not sure about the 4 helicopters as I went for a run around HAT Kobe about 12ish and saw 8 or 9 helicopters flying for at least 15-20 minutes. No doubt it was a carnage, but 8 or 9 helicopters...? Never seen anything like it...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

From looking at the video, my guess is epilepsy/heart attack/brain stroke, something of that kind. A reminder how quickly things can go bad, being surrounded by these moving steel machines.... (I riide a scooter, so this is never far from my mind)

0 ( +1 / -1 )

take his driver license away for the safety of others

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Oops, my bad. Thought they were passengers.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Seriously I am really scared of old people driving around town. First of all, they do not look. I have so many experiences walking on pedestrians and almost run over. If I am with my kids I make sure the car is completely stopped (when I see the driver is old) before we cross because I do not want to take any chances. I have seen old people run over a student on a bicycle and a navy woman (who by the by died) just crossing the pedestrian. Not to point out only the old folks here, I just mentioned it probably it has something to do with the age, lacking the ability to see people around you.

2 ( +3 / -1 )


63 is not that old! Most people are still working at that age, and fully functional.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

WilliB, please go back to my comment and see if I mentioned that HE is old. Just venting out what my experience and the trauma of seeing two actual accident involving an elderly driver. Not hating at all. Just saying.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

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