crime

Driver pleads guilty in Utah bus crash that killed 3 Japanese

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I'm glad they're following up on this, too many accidents from impaired drivers.

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Mr Mikuni pleaded guilty to 3 felony counts today. 7 other counts were dismissed in a plea deal. He is scheduled for sentencing on August 8th with a possibility of 5 years for each count. A sad story for everyone involved.

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7 hours is more than enough sleep. THis charge should be dropped.

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Man, I'd say that 90% of drivers in Tokyo get less than 7 hours sleep every night

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It is very expensive in the USA to have a lawyer represent you at a court trial. Many people end up pleading guilty to lesser charges when they cannot afford the costs of having a good lawyer represent them in court. The accident was sad and terrible indeed___but sending this man to jail for falling asleep while driving is excessive.

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7 hours sleep is NOT sleep deprivation!! Have they even checked the bus for mechanical failure? No mention of it. Accidents happen, and that is all this seems to be. I find it difficult to understand why prosecutors are allowed to 'bargain' away with someone's life, in order to fill their own egos!

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bdiego at 08:35 AM JST - 25th May

I'm glad they're following up on this, too many accidents from impaired drivers.

bdiego: Does sleep-deprived = impaired?

Utah Highway Patrol investigators said that on the day of the crash, Mikuni was driving on seven hours of sleep, nicotine gum and energy drinks.

7 hours of sleep the night before doesn't seem like sleep deprivation to me, I know everybody is different but I wonder what the standard for "sufficient sleep" is?

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Yes, it's all terrible and tragic that people were killed and injured, but 7 hours of sleep? Sounds like plenty to me on any given day, and this just sounds like an unfortunate accident.

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Some news reports have reported that Mikuni was also high on pot when the story broke. Very tragic for him.

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"7 hours is more than enough sleep. THis charge should be dropped."

Seven hours' sleep is sufficient for a responsible individual living on a disciplined and balanced regimen of exercise and diet; IT IS NOT enough sleep for a lazy stupid pothead whom thinks chewing nicotine gum makes up for the deficit.

Mikuni should rot in prison.

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The average adult sleeps less than seven hours per night, but in today's fast society, 6 to 7 hours of sleep in reality is a receipe for chronic sleep deprivation. Most healthy adults need between 7.5 to 9 hours of sleep per night to function at their best. In fact most people have no idea just how much lack of sleep is affecting them because the signs of sleep deprivation are so subtle. If you make a habit of skimping on sleep, you may not even remember what it feels like to be wide-awake, fully alert, and firing on all cylinders. It feels normal to get sleepy when you're struggling throughout the afternoon slump, or after dinner. However the truth is that it's normal if you're sleep deprived. Therefore if you're getting less than eight hour of sleep each night, chances are you're sleep deprived. That lack of sleep does affect your judgment, coordination, and reaction time. The quality of your sleep does directly affect the quality of your waking life, including your mental sharpness, productivity, emotional balance, creativity, physical vitality and even your weight. No other activity delivers so many benefits with so little effort. Hence you can't afford not to sleep enough because sleep deprivation can affect you just as much as being drunk and look what happened to Mikuni.

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By saying he had 7 hours sleep, I wonder if they mean - from the time he stopped driving the night before and started driving the next morning was 7 hours. That would mean he probably got a lot less than 7 hours.

It's a sad day for everyone but I hope the Hayase's prevail and get a princely sum - the worst situation is having a child suddenly become paraplegic and another one dead.

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7 hours are more than enought but they forgot to list that he had THC in his blood. In other words he was a doper! and was driving under the influence. Like driving with a nasty hangover the next day, your impaired and resposible for anything that happens.

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This guy was operating a passenger service vehicle, and in most civilised countries people driving these vehicles are required to have sufficient sleep between shifts, ie normally 8 hours. Airline pilots fall into a simillar category.

This guy was irresponsible and negilgent with others lives while supposedly doing a professional job.

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Actually, other english articles in the US said his blood was clean, but he had 7hrs of sleep COMBINED over two days. (not 7hrs straight that night)

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7 hours of sleep for over two days is still alot in my book. That is a couple of days worth of sleep for me. You don't see me crashing my car when I don't get the recomended amount of sleep.

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astrogaijin, people are different and do not sleep the same amount of time. Get cranky when I do not get my 8 to 9 hours of sleep. Looks like to me professional negligence resulting in death.

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I would blame Ford for the design flaws and Mr. Mikuni should be given a lighter sentence. Ford should be sued for this problem. According to government statistics, there were almost 1,100 occupants killed in crashes involving 15-passenger vans from 1997 to 2006. Ford E-Series vehicles, such as the Ford Club Wagon E350, which he was driving probably pose a greater risk of deadly rollover accidents to their occupants than any vehicle currently being manufactured. In similar case in 2005, a Utah State University van overturned on a highway about 65 miles north of Salt Lake City, killing eight students and an instructor, and injuring two other students. In more than 80% of single-vehicle accidents involving 15-passenger vans that resulted in a fatality, the vans rolled over. Many lawsuits were filed against van manufacturers claim that they knew the vans were defective in design and unreasonably dangerous because of its instability and tendency to roll over.

They are difficult to handle under fully loaded conditions because they are susceptible to over-steering in emergency maneuvers, which leads to loss of control. Once a van rolls over, it is not crashworthy and, as a result, occupants are killed in what would otherwise have been easily survivable crashes.

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I have driven through that part of the country before. It is very easy to fall asleep behind the wheel because the landscape and the drive are very boring. At times no other cars were in sight which made it even worse. I had to keep slapping myself and blasted my stereo to keep from falling asleep.

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made the drive from Vegas to salt lake city yrs ago. agree with the commenter above, nothing around for miles...very boring.

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I work for 2 of the companies involved. First, he had 7 hours off between work. The law is 10 for drivers. He accepted a job he didn't feel confident about doing. He smoked pot. That may not have caused the accident, but to come to a foreign country and ignore a number of laws shows a character flaw. Even that said, it was an accident and I agree I don't think he should go to prison for more than 3 years, which is probably what it will end up being...with good behavior. On the other hand I hope the others involved would spend some time in prison. I just got off a 3 day tour for Japanese customers basically on the same route. Pick up at 6 am....that day see sunset, next day sunrise....same day sunset, followed by day 3 sunrise. Japanese tour companies routinely flaunt the law and know that local bus drivers will not take the job because the hours are way over the limit. That is one reason next time you come to the GRAND CIRCLE area your tour guide may be some young Japnese college kid that knows little of the history of the area. 5 million a year go to Zion and Bryce...that must be some boring keshiki huh nimbus. sfjp330, agreed the van does suck, but the 2 customers that survived and filed suit said that the kids driving was erratic and too fast from the start of the tour.

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I know this road well. I 15 is a high speed road. The speed limit is 75 MPH or about 120 KPH. There are two or three wide lanes each way with a wide divider between the directions of travel. Traffic is usually very light. The drive is very easy for a rested driver. As you might imagine, losing control of a vehicle at this speed could result in multiple rolls and very serious injury.

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