The driver of a construction vehicle that rammed into pupils and teachers of a school for children with impaired hearing in Osaka on Feb 1, 2018, killing an 11-year-old girl and injuring four others, was sentenced to seven years in prison by the Osaka District Court on Wednesday.
Prosecutors had asked for a 10-year sentence for Takuya Sano, 36, who suffers from epilepsy, Fuji TV reported. He was convicted of reckless driving resulting in death.
According to the ruling, Sano was driving a wheel loader and suffered an epileptic attack just before the accident. He hit Ayaka Ide, and two other pupils of the same age, as well as two female teachers as the five were waiting for a traffic signal near the school's gate in Ikuno Ward.
The accident took place in a residential area about 400 meters south of JR Tsuruhashi Station. Road construction work was being carried out near the site.
At first, Sano told police he mistakenly pressed the gas pedal instead of the brake pedal when he was trying to stop the vehicle as the traffic light turned red. Later, Sano admitted that he had been prescribed medication for epilepsy but could not remember if he had taken his medication that day. Police also said that Sano had been in a traffic accident once before while operating a vehicle.
Drivers who cause fatal accidents due to medical conditions such as epilepsy and schizophrenia have been subject to tougher penalties since the Road Traffic Law was revised in 2013.© Japan Today