More details emerged Wednesday about a fatal crash and hit-and-run that took the lives of four members of one family in Sunagawa, Hokkaido, last Saturday night.
The accident occurred at around 10:40 p.m. at an intersection on National Route 12. A mini-wagon carrying Koichi Nagaoke, 44, his wife Fumie, 44, their daughter Megumi, 17, son Shota, 16, and the couple’s 12-year-old daughter, was hit from the right by a car carrying three men. The impact sent the Nagaokes’ car crashing into a streetlight post, throwing Shota onto the street.
However, Shota’s body was found about 800 meters away. Police said that after he was thrown from the mini-wagon, he was hit by an oncoming vehicle and dragged along.
The four Nagaokes were taken to hospital where they were pronounced dead. Their youngest daughter and the three men in the other vehicle were also taken to hospital but their injuries are not life-threatening.
On Tuesday, police arrested demolition worker Ryuichi Komi, 26, on suspicion of hitting Shota with his pick-up truck, Fuji TV reported. Komi, who turned himself in to police on Sunday, was quoted as saying he remembered hitting something but did not know what it was. He said he turned himself in after seeing news about the accident on TV and thought he might have been involved.
Police said that Komi and a companion were following three friends in the car that hit the Nagaokes’ mini-wagon. The car is believed to have gone through a red light. The accident occurred on what is said to be Japan’s longest stretch of straight road (30 kilometers). Street surveillance camera footage showed the car and Komi’s pick-up truck moving at about 108 kilometers per hour – twice the speed limit -- and only 25 meters apart as they approached the intersection.
Meanwhile, an autopsy revealed that Shota did not die as a result of the crash, NHK reported Wednesday. He died from injuries received after apparently being dragged along by Komi’s truck, police said.
Komi was quoted by police as saying he and his friends had been at a restaurant before the accident and that he drank one tankard of beer before getting into his truck.
Friends of Komi told media that he and his friends used to often go hot rodding. Police plan to question Komi’s friends as soon as they recover from their injuries.© Japan Today