crime

Female police officer hit, killed by minivan during traffic violation crackdown

31 Comments

A 20-year-old female police officer who was taking part in a campaign to crack down on traffic violations, died after being hit by a minivan at an intersection in Matsuyama City, Ehime Prefecture.

According to police, the incident occurred at around 11 a.m. on Monday. Sankei Shimbun reported that Yuri Nishino, an officer from Matsuyama-higashi Police Station’s Community Affairs Division, was struck by a courier vehicle at a narrow intersection. Nishino hit her head on the pavement and lost consciousness. She was taken to hospital where she died a short time later, police said.

According to police reports, Nishino was part of a team cracking down on traffic violations and had exited her police car after stopping one vehicle. When she attempted to cross an intersection, she was hit by the van that came from the left.

Ehime Prefectural Police have arrested the 27-year-old driver, identified as Kentaro Hayase, a company employee, on a charge of negligent driving resulting in death.

The accident site has no stop sign or traffic lights.

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31 Comments
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Such a sad story for all concerned.

14 ( +14 / -0 )

Rest in peace Ms. Nishino. 20 is way way too young to die.

My heart goes out to her immediate family

12 ( +12 / -0 )

RIP, that is very sad indeed :(

Ehime Prefectural Police have arrested the 27-year-old driver, identified as Kentaro Hayase, a company employee, on a charge of negligent driving resulting in death.

This is why hit and runs are so prevalent in Japan. Why is the driver automatically at fault? Maybe she was not looking at walked right in front of the minivan traveling at speed?

If drivers are automatically guilty irrespective of the reason, then all speed limits should be 5kph.

A stupid speed limit for a stupid law.

-1 ( +9 / -10 )

It was the middle of the day, so one or both of them weren't paying attention

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Horrible! And there's not even any indication that the driver was doing anything wrong as there are no details save that it's a narrow street with no traffic signs, and that Nishino was crossing the street after getting out of her car. Why does it always take tragedies like this to realise how hazardous some of these roads are regardless of which way the traffic is going?

4 ( +6 / -2 )

I totally agree , all speed limits should be 5kph in any residential zone, in fact no private cars should even be allowed into cities, and illegal parking ( and side road hazard blinking ) should have fines over 5000USD for once and license forfeit for second offence and speeding or vehicular accidents should warrant death punishments!

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

This is why hit and runs are so prevalent in Japan. Why is the driver automatically at fault?

The driver is automatically arrested, but not necessarily charged.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

The driver is automatically arrested, but not necessarily charged.

However the odds aren't in his favor being that the victim is a police officer. If it was an average joe, it would be his word against the dead person's if there are no witnesses.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

@DaDude

It depends. Maybe the fact that she was in the police will prompt people to be scrupulously fair, given that they’re going to be under a bit of scrutiny.

I know that the police where I used to live in England had a policy of not prosecuting in cases where their cars were damaged in accidents, in case it came out in court that they were somehow at fault....

2 ( +3 / -1 )

The article is not making it clear but there seems to be a possibility that the same van that she was trying to stop for a traffic violation was the one that knocked her down. This guy could be in big trouble.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

@nandakanda

Not crystal-clear, but clear enough, surely?

Not the same van.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

 there's not even any indication that the driver was doing anything wrong

If it's a narrow street and a small intersection and the driver was moving at a speed fast enough to knock a (presumably healthy, strong) woman over with such force that she hit her head and died - that's an indication of wrong-doing.

There but for the grace of god went I when I was younger. I now drive with extreme caution on those roads and do what would be considered a rolling stop even at unmarked intersections. Be careful on those little lanes, everyone.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

So, now a cop has been killed will they admit there is a huge problem with speeding and reckless driving in back streets and start to do something about it? Not bloody likely! I'm not supporting a police state, but anybody who has lived in Japan for a while and/or drives regularly knows that, it's pretty much 'Rafferty's Rules' on the roads. Stop signs and red lights are totally ignored, pedestrian crossings are just a gamble for pedestrians, speed limits are only guidelines, using indicators to change lanes is optional, as well as restraining kids and using your phone while driving seems to be mandatory. I felt safer riding a scooter around in Bali!

7 ( +9 / -2 )

lubracasi, here: "Nishino was part of a team cracking down on traffic violations and had exited her police car after stopping one vehicle. When she attempted to cross an intersection, she was hit by the van that came from the left."

In the J press the sense it that yes, it was the same van, but here the English is ambiguous.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Another J article in the Sankei has just confused me again, suggesting maybe they were indeed different vehicles.

現場付近の道路で交通違反の車を発見して停止させ、パトカーを降りて歩いていたところを、北方向から来た貨物車にはねられたという。= She had spotted and stopped one car breaking the traffic law, got out of her vehicle and was walking when she was hit by a goods vehicle travelling from the north.

Background info. It seems to be one of these narrow residential roads used as a short-cut by busy drivers. The speed limit was reduced to 30 kph some years ago but residents had complained to the police that cars still continue to speed down the street. This is why the young lady had arrived in her two-officer patrol car.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

@nanda

Agreed, it’s not at all clear. Looked at two Japanese sources and saw two different versions: one said it was the same car, one suggested it was different.

Who knows?

RIP, anyway...

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Completely agree with disillusioned, road rules are often completely ignored here and it's basically up to pedestrians to minimise/manage risks that may arise from traffic and reckless, incompetent or inattentive drivers.

Such a tragic story. Hope this will be a catalyst for change and that Nishino's colleagues will, nationwide, do their job and stop turning a blind eye to traffic violations.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

The accident site has no stop sign or traffic lights.

Nor speedbumps, proper sidewalks or any other measure in place forcing drivers to slow down, no matrixes to warn motor vehicles to watch their speed, it's a free for all, and yes, it's the 21st century but this still is Asia, Those daring to walk in or cross a road are always at the mercy of those piloting automobiles. Just think about it when you are out of your car, standing or walking near a crossing and observe who slows down in their approach or even bothers to stop when someone stands near a pedestrian crossing. Ever been to or lived in western Europe?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

You know, below says that a road without a posted speed limit has a speed limit of 60 km/h - and that is absolutely ridiculous for some of these streets that have no posted speed limit!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@Disillusioned

"So, now a cop has been killed will they admit there is a huge problem with speeding and reckless driving in back streets and start to do something about it? Not bloody likely!"

You aint never lied, near me there is a preschool on a long road near the end. I've seen trucks, cars, and scooters do the freeway flyer down that street in Tokyo. There used to be diamond markers with 20 inside, but when they repaved the street the markers were not replaced. I called the ward office to see about replacing the speed limit diamonds or install speed bumps, but just got the gaigin ear-service. So I also agree will they... "start to do something about it? Not bloody likely!"

3 ( +4 / -1 )

now a cop has been killed will they admit there is a huge problem with speeding and reckless driving in back streets and start to do something about it?

They were doing something about it when she was killed

3 ( +4 / -1 )

When she attempted to cross an intersection, she was hit by the van that came from the left.

Ehime Prefectural Police have arrested the 27-year-old driver, identified as Kentaro Hayase, a company employee, on a charge of negligent driving resulting in death.

The accident site has no stop sign or traffic lights.

How is this his fault? It says nothing about the driver being distracted. She perhaps carelessly walked into the street without looking both ways and was hit. I'm sorry to say, but that's what happens when you walk into the street without looking. I think the police should address the bigger issue and re-train people about looking both ways before crossing the street and making eye contact with the driver to acknowledge the driver that you are about to cross the street. All responsibility should not lie only on the drivers. I have had kids run across the street mere seconds before I could stop. Visual contact is more effective than raising your hand when crossing the street.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

In Japan you should always expect people to walk into the road in front of you at any time. Many of them don't look, or if they do look they pretend they didn't see you. People here don't just walk on the pavement, they walk along the middle of the road, in cycle lanes, anywhere they please. A couple of days ago there was an article in the paper about an increase in the number of people walking on expressways in recent years.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

i see these residential stops everyday. the police don't look, they feel that everybody can see them. they just walk out in front of cars. i feel sorry for the driver. courier drivers have such a hard life as it is, but now he will lose his licence and maybe prison.

also, feel sorry for her family, they must of been so proud of her.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Very sad indeed.

Traffic stops are one of the most dangerous jobs of a police officer. She did not deserve this but a serious lack at experience had some to do with this too.

Some posters on here point out that a driver is automatically blamed for any kind of car and pedestrian accident. Personally, that is wrong! But we all choose to live in Japan, if you don’t like it. I say you have a few choices...

Leave

Acccept it.

3 Fight a system that does not care what you think.

4 Don’t drive.

If you choose to stay and you need a car just be as careful as you can be!

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Wow, very tragic. RIP to the young woman. You have to keep your head on a swivel when crossing any street anywhere. Lights, white lines and signs can't always prevent accidents.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Skeeter27, I drive here and I need constant reminding of what you say. The cops here go by their books, and are unwilling to listen to any bright insight that you might have. Well, they might listen politely, to humour you, but you soon realize that they are not really listening. You just need to develop and maintain a very different set of reflexes to the driving you may have done in your own country, and stay out of trouble.

It is so easy to relax and make a mistake here, just like the female officer above who seems to have stepped out in front of a goods vehicle, whose driver in turn may have lost concentration for just a moment.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Just a user - They were doing something about it when she was killed

Yes, they were, but what exactly they were doing remains unclear. Were they, A) Hiding in a back street trying to raise revenue? Or, B) Giving out tissues and warnings?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

The other night around 7pm I saw a COP in the middle lane( 3 lanes) of Yamata dori pull over a guy and was sitting on his bicycle holding up traffic having a nice chat to the guy in the van? UNBELIEVABLE...sorry I didn’t get a photo/ back in Australia they have training on where it is safe to pull over motorists etc and here they put the driver and themselves in harms way!!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The driver is automatically arrested, but not necessarily charged.

Then it is an illegal arrest. In order to arrest someone they have to be charged/probable cause with something.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Laguna -- "There but for the grace of god went I when I was younger. I now drive with extreme caution on those roads and do what would be considered a rolling stop even at unmarked intersections. Be careful on those little lanes, everyone."

The article states: "Nishino was part of a team cracking down on traffic violations and had exited her police car after stopping one vehicle." It's common sense when you see a work vehicle slow down because workers are often nearby.

An only laterally related fact: (In the US) garbage-collection as a profession has 3 times the risks of on-the-job death as being a police officer (according to a Forbes listing of fatality risk by profession). Surely that risk is is mostly related to garbage-collectors getting hit by vehicles passing garbage trucks - all it would take to bring that rate down is cautious driving.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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