crime

Car chased by police crashes into residence killing passenger

34 Comments

A car being chased by a police patrol car crashed through a guardrail and into the wall of a house, killing a passenger, in Iwakuni, Yamaguchi Prefecture, on Sunday morning.

According to police, the chase began at around 1:40 a.m. when the car went through a red light. Fuji TV quoted police as saying that the patrol car chased the speeding vehicle for about three kilometers before it crashed through the guardrail and into the house.

Police identified the dead man, who was in the passenger seat, as Kenji Tsuruta, 27. The driver of the car, a man in his 20s, was taken to hospital but his condition is not life-threatening, police said, adding that he was intoxicated and will be charged with drunk driving after he recovers.

Nobody in the house was injured, police said.

© Japan Today

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34 Comments
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Only charged with drunk driving, not vehicular manslaughter or whatever the similar law is in Japan?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

InControl,

Preliminary charges -the rest will follow

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Second time in as many months, once again the Jcops chase someone that leads to the death of someone. Stands to reason that if the driver hasn't pulled over in the first 1/2 km he's not going to. Take the number down and cool the chase off before someone dies !

-20 ( +6 / -25 )

Or alternatively let a drunk driver continue on his way and who knows what else will happen, a major accident on a junction or he ploughs into a crowd of people with many dead? No, he must be stopped, the police were correct to chase him down.

22 ( +22 / -2 )

Stands to reason that if the driver hasn't pulled over in the first 1/2 km he's not going to. Take the number down and cool the chase off before someone dies !

Awesome - All anybody needs to do is not stop for the first 500 meters and they are scott-free... What a great country yours would be... "Honest officer - I was at home in bed - you sure you got the plate number correct?"

The problem faced by law abiding drivers and pedestrians in this country from drunk and otherwise poor drivers is the lack of enforcement & subsequent consequences for their actions / transgressions...

If there were regular checks for drunk drivers in the form of spot roadside checks & routine / proper traffic law enforcement then people might learn that there are consequences for breaking traffic laws...

There is a wholly lacking enforcement of traffic laws here in Japan - anybody here for any length of time knows this... The average oji / oba simply puts his head down and ploughs on thru with the attitude that "If I didn't see you - how can it be to blame ?"

The problem with the above scenario is not that the J-cops were chasing the drunk - it's that the drunk behind the wheel thought that the police would STOP chasing them after the first 1/2 KM...

9 ( +9 / -1 )

You'd think 27 is old enough to realize right from wrong. The wrong is letting your friend speed away from police.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

So, the drunken punk just killed his mate and will spend the next 10-15 years in the pen to think about what he did. Congrats mate! Lucky you didn't kill anybody else.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Second time in as many months, once again the Jcops chase someone that leads to the death of someone. Stands to reason that if the driver hasn't pulled over in the first 1/2 km he's not going to. Take the number down and cool the chase off before someone dies !

So police should just let them carry on going merrily with the risk of killing predestrians? That's a great idea!

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Sad that such a young person died in such a way, but it was entirely their fault. I sure hope that along with the drunk driving charge he gets wreckless driving resulting in death. If he doesn't get charged for the passengers death I would be shocked.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Second time in as many months, once again the Jcops chase someone that leads to the death of someone.

No, someone got behind a wheel of the car when plastered - there is your killer.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Because he went through a red light!? That happens every five minutes instead Tokyo lights!! Why did they picking this guy? Red light running in Japan is endemic.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

CrazedinJapan: "Second time in as many months, once again the Jcops chase someone that leads to the death of someone. Stands to reason that if the driver hasn't pulled over in the first 1/2 km he's not going to."

It's not the police that lead to this young man's death, it was his and the driver's actions. The police were doing their jobs, and quite frankly while this is tragic it's not nearly as tragic as when drunk drivers and light skippers like the this guy plow down a bunch of people on the sidewalk, or when we have to read about the police doing nothing and people dying as a result.

"Take the number down and cool the chase off before someone dies !"

Yet again, what would you be saying if this driver had killed people as a result of the police NOT chasing him? It's bad enough they let the bosozoku ride around revving their bikes and committing crimes, should people be allowed to go through lights and endanger lives as well? This kind of thing has made the headlines because despite two cases in two months, it's a rarity. I bet if you checked stats on the number of drinking and driving incidents and accidents you'd find far, far more.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

You drink and drive, you die, who do you have to blame?? YOURSELF!!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

If there were regular checks for drunk drivers in the form of spot roadside checks

there are - Tokyo Police often conduct checks in the late evening - on major roads and the highways. Been stopped a few times between 23:00 and 01:00, always negative as I don't drink and drive, the police have been very polite and professional...

5 ( +5 / -0 )

@ Elbuda Mexicano at Jun. 30, 2013 - 09:13PM JST You drink and drive, you die, who do you have to blame?? YOURSELF!!

What part of the article you didn't get the driver did not die the passenger of the car did. Your logic is completely off as always. in this case the driver is still alive living with the sad memories of a terrible accident he caused and the loss of a friend, co-worker perhaps father of some love one. There is a limit to drinking and getting behind the wheel of a car many people do it and don't cause accidents in no way am i saying people should to this but to say you drink and drive you die is not true at all state the facts, in other words think before you write or post.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

SmithinJapan, how in the bloody hell was it the passenger's fault?!? If I were the passenger's spouse/parent, I would be mad at both the driver and the police for pursuing a car to that degree despite how dangerous it was getting. If you have their lisence plate, you can get let them go and get them later!!! Don't risk innocent people's lives by making it a car chase!!

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

SmithinJapan, how in the bloody hell was it the passenger's fault?!? If I were the passenger's spouse/parent, I would be mad at both the driver and the police for pursuing a car to that degree despite how dangerous it was getting. If you have their lisence plate, you can get let them go and get them later!!! Don't risk innocent people's lives by making it a car chase!!

According to Japanese law, if you get in the car with a known drunk person, you are just as much at fault, even if you are sober. Also included would be the bar owner who sold him the last drink, knowing that the person may have had too many to drive, and should have stopped them.

I love the comments people here are making saying that they should just get the licence plate number and go after the guy later. Who's to say the guy can ditch the car, and wait to go home and say it was stolen. It is better to wrtie off a car like that than facing the penalties for drunk driving in Japan.

The police did their job. If anyone is at fault, it is the driver and the passenger. If the passenger was picked up by the driver and not aware that he had been drinking, then of course he wouldn't have any fault, but I am going to assume that they got into the car together.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

jumpultimatestars: "SmithinJapan, how in the bloody hell was it the passenger's fault?!?"

Did he get in the car with a drunk driver? YES! Was he probably out drinking with said driver before they hopped in the car? PROBABLY! How is it not his fault is the better question. It's not ENTIRELY his fault, of course. My point is it is most certainly NOT the fault of the police.

"f you have their lisence plate, you can get let them go and get them later!!! Don't risk innocent people's lives by making it a car chase!!"

Tell me, compared to this kind of incident, how often do you read about drunk drivers killing innocent pedestrians or passengers/drivers of other cars? What's the ratio? HERE was a case in which the police tried to pull over a car that sped through a red light -- something not only illegal, but dangerous and yet something else we read about constantly causing the deaths of others! The driver, intoxicated, tried to flee, and OF COURSE the police pursued. I guarantee if we read about how police stopped within 500 meters, as some of you suggest they should have, and wrote down the plate number only, people like yourself would be in an uproar about how they neglected their duty, particularly if the driver then smashed his car, killing the passenger, himself, and/or others. You can say there's no proof that that would have happened, and you're right, but again, what are the stats of drunk drivers causing accidents/deaths vs. police chases in Japan ending in A DRUNK DRIVER and/or his passenger killed?

You guys seriously need to reassess your priorities. If you were the parent of the passenger you should mad indeed -- mad at the driver, and mad at your son for being so stupid. The driver will no doubt learn the very, very hard way from his moronic actions. Sadly, the passenger cannot. Like I said before, I hope the driver gets manslaughter on top of drinking and driving.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

@Alpha You think I give a crap about the off-chance this perpetrator would never get caught despite seeing his license and witnesses (and possibly even be scared straight from it) compared to the needless slaughter of civilians??? I'm not sure if you guys understand: What does principle matter, or "doing their job" matter if innocent people are dying as a result?!? That's akin to rushing a murderer who has a hostage and letting the hostage die just to make catching the murderer simple. Secondly, don't assume that the passenger was fully aware that his driver was a drunk person; You're putting these words into the mouth of a deceased person who can't speak for himself, and I find that repulsive.

@smith you're lumping me in with the average Japan Today user that likes to blame the police here as "useless keystones". Hate to break it to you but I'm different. I value lives over duty. I don't think you realize that thousands of people drive drunk every night without killing anyone. Is it a risk that should be punished? Yes. Is each drunk driver likely to kill someone? EXTREMELY unlikely! However the chance of a car chase ending badly is almost GUARANTEED! This is simple mathematics! This is no wishy-washy logic, the fact of the matter is, if you think DRUNK drivers are a danger on the road, imagine how dangerous a DRUNK driver in a car CHASE is! How short-sighted! The vast majority of you all!

0 ( +3 / -3 )

That's a good rule!

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

jumpultimatestarsJun. 30, 2013 - 11:33PM JST SmithinJapan, how in the bloody hell was it the passenger's fault?!? If I were the passenger's spouse/parent, I would be mad at both the driver and the police for pursuing a car to that degree despite how dangerous it was getting. If you have their lisence plate, you can get let them go and get them later!!! Don't risk innocent people's lives by making it a car chase!!

The passenger is equally at fault for what happened. Did he attempt to stop his friend who was drunk from driving? No he didn't. Did he refuse to get into the car knowing his friend was drunk? No he didn't. For all we know he also most likely didn't try to tell his friend to pull the car over once they got flashed by the police.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Secondly, don't assume that the passenger was fully aware that his driver was a drunk person;

@ jumpultimatestars: And you are assuming that he didn't know, trying to give a dead person the benefit of the doubt. We don't know what happened. But we do know that the driver of the car was drunk, and ran a light and crashed. The police did their job. What about the case of the Japanese man who was in police custody and questioned about the killing of the British woman. He just walked away and it took the J-cops years to find him, and get him to trial, even when they knew where his parents lived and where his support came from. Yet they still couldn't find him.

Yes high speed chases are dangerous, and believe it or not, the police are the ones who are given training to do them. The real danger comes from the persons being chased. And here's a hint, even before the poice chance, the dirver was driving dangerously since he ran through a red light. So it is safe to say, this guy was a danger even before the police began to chace him.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

It's not the police fault. No one told the Driver to run, the Driver made the stupid drunken decision to run from the cops. The passanger is held also liable to for allowing the driver to drive drunk. For all we know the passanger could of been passed out and he's friend/driver deiced to take his car and drive him home. Ether way very bad decision on the drivers part. Tragic as it is, i'm glad no one else got hurt.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

jumpultimatestars: "I value lives over duty."

Obviously you don't if you suggest letting drivers who are drunk and do not obey the law run rampant and that the police do nothing until after the fact. I do not lump you into the category of JT readers/commentors that think the J-cops are keystones, but you would still be wrong if the police just wrote down the license plate and then these morons drove off and got themselves and/or others killed. And again, I want you to give me the stats of drunk driving accidents vs. the kind of accident that happend here. You really don't want to, do you?

" I don't think you realize that thousands of people drive drunk every night without killing anyone."

What you also seem to forget is that if the police go to someone's house AFTER they've stopped driving, if they get home safely, they cannot charge them with drunk driving after the fact, especially if they drink loads of water. Lest we forget the guy in Fukuoka who was drunk and killed three children and got off with about 1.5 years in jail because he sped off and drank a bunch of water, etc. Had the police been able to pull him over or he drove off the bridge and simply killed himself those children would be alive.

Quite frankly I'm tired of seeing people speed through red lights and hear of them killing people, and am glad the police in this case tried to bring the morons who did it to justice. THe boys have naught but themselves to blame. The parents as well can ONLY blame the boys. The police did absolutely zero wrong. And one of the reasons why this is the case is because of the thought processes of people like yourself -- "hey, let them go! we can get them later! THey're no danger to themselves and others!"

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Are you kidding me? I have to provide stats to prove to you that a drunk car chase is far, far more dangerous than a regular drunk driver? Is there anyone out there in the world that could deny that? This exchange is going nowhere fast if you can't acknowledge something like that on your own... It's as if you purposefully don't want to see obvious truths or change your mind... I know some of you have a passionate sense of swift justice, but you have to separate yourself from the situation and look at this objectively. How can justice be placed on a higher level than human lives?

I never once implied it's ok for the police to do nothing. You pursue them just as you would any other car that's broken the law, and almost all of the time the drunk person will pull over. But when things get dangerous and they refuse to pull over, you are not doing ANYONE any favors by initiating some high-speed drunken car chase. At that point one should shift to examining the license plate, try to get an id of the driver if you can make him out, find witnesses who could testify against their inebriation, and track him down through the system.

I have absolutely zero hesitance in assigning an appropriate amount of blame to the police here.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

At first when I read this happened in Iwakuni I thought a U.S. service member was involved due to the very close proximity of Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, but it turns out no U.S. personnel were involved. Still, a life was lost and that is very bad - due to operating a motor vehicle under the influence of intoxicating beverages. Stupid!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

At that point one should shift to examining the license plate, try to get an id of the driver if you can make him out, find witnesses who could testify against their inebriation, and track him down through the system.

@ jumpultmatestars: So what happens if the drivers of the car were driving a stolen vehicle? Do the police just take the license and loose the guy and go to the rightful owners home to find out that the car had been stolen? It seems far fetched, but look at the time this event happened, early in the morning. We don't know all the story but what if they had taken the car from someone, or what if they had just borrowed the car from someone. They still would have a chance to get away.

The police did what was right. If a guy is going to run a red light, and drive drunk, they are probably not too worried about the others out on the roads and would not just pull over politely as you say and get arrested and face jail and huge fines.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Like I've said 2 or 3 times alph, you're right that this opens up the possibility of the perpetrator getting away with it all, even if that possibility is quite an unlikely one. I'm not denying it. In worst case scenario, stopping a car chase pursuit before catching them leaves a chance that they might commit a dangerous act again one day after getting away. However, NOT stopping a car chase GUARANTEES much greater, immediate danger. Consider the reality of the lives actually at hand right before your eyes before any theoretical future BS.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

NOT stopping a car chase GUARANTEES much greater, immediate danger. Consider the reality of the lives actually at hand right before your eyes before any theoretical future BS.

@ jumpultimatestars: All you need to do is read the latest post on JT about the 76 year old woman who killed two pedestrians in Fukuoka. She was not impaired, nor being chased, and she managed to drive up on a sidewalk and kill two persons. Yet, you expect the police to not give chase to a person they see speeding through a red light and is a known hazard on the road. Not going too far with my theoretical assumptions, just pointing out things the way the police view them.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Yeah, bad but sober driving, is that relevant? Yes accidents happen whether sober or drunk. Police should go after them. But once it turns into a high speed or dangerous chase continual pursuit is inviting even more deaths.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Yes accidents happen whether sober or drunk. Police should go after them. But once it turns into a high speed or dangerous chase continual pursuit is inviting even more deaths.

@ jumpultimatestars: Again another article posted on JT today on the numbers of traffic accidents in Japan. The number has increased by 71 from last year. The article states:

The NPA said it plans to step up campaigns to crack down on drunk driving and raise awareness of seatbelt use.

I don't think that those drunk driving cases that caused accidents all came from police chases, but from the fact that the drivers were drunk. Letting them just "drive home" and meet them at the endpoint is not going to work. For instance, what if it was a company car? Registered to one business address, but the driver lives in another location. So are we going to say well the drunk driver got away from the police one more time, waiting for an accident to happen?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

none of that is connected to the issue of how insanely dangerous a drunken car chase is.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

none of that is connected to the issue of how insanely dangerous a drunken car chase is.

It's just as dangerous as a druken driver not being chased. Not all car chases by the police end up in a death, and not all drunk drivers wind up killing someone. But there are more drunk drivers out there than probably police chases, and if there are more the odds are that there will be more deaths from just ordinary drunk drivers.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It's just as dangerous as a druken driver not being chased.

...And that's where this conversation ends. I can't believe you honestly think that.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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