crime

Minivan hits group of children, killing 6-year-old boy in Chiba

51 Comments

A minivan crashed into a group of schoolchildren waiting for a bus in Tateyama, Chiba Prefecture, on Friday morning, killing a 6-year-old boy.

The driver, a 20-year-old part-time worker identified as Hiroyuki Okawara, was arrested and charged with negligent driving resulting in the death of Kosei Yamada, NTV reported.

According to police, the children and two adults were waiting for the bus at 7:30 a.m. when the minivan hit them. The boy was dragged underneath the vehicle for about 25 meters, NTV reported. He was taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead at 11 a.m., police said.

Okawara was quoted by police as saying he was preoccupied thinking about his work.

The boy's mother was one of the adults waiting at the bus stop with the children, NTV said.

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51 Comments
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Seems to be a daily occurance. Was he reading messages on his dumb phone?

4 ( +7 / -3 )

AGAIN?! ........

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Okawara was quoted by police as saying he was preoccupied thinking about his work.

= I was too busy texting/talking on phone, trying to light a cigarette .. reading manga, checking a map, checking delivery invoice?

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Jeez, again... My condolences to the family.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

"...he was preoccupied thinking about his work." He's a PART-TIME worker. Probably full-time smart-phone user with over-time.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

And the cops went sick after cyclist when one old lady got killed in Tokyo..... How about doubling the penalties for distracted drivers? Holding a phone and driving is par for the course here in Japan. Despite the law, the cops really cant be bothered going after bad drivers.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

It's terrible. But with the streets here running inches from the "sidewalks," it's really amazing that it doesn't happen more. Not to mention the trains flying by unprotected platforms. Not that it's their fault in any way, but pedestrians are entirely to nonchalant about killer vehicles running next to them. The country is just too crowded. A solution? Ban cars from 50% of the streets, and convert them to pedestrian/bike lanes.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Very sad. RIP to the boy. Japanese government should introduce those new systems which can automatically stop the car if there are any obstacles on the road. On mandatory basis of course. It should be on every car in the country, I think this is possible, there are not so many old cars in Japan. And I agree with Erik Lars, they should introduce much stricter rules about using smart-phones by the drivers.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

not again... dragged 25m?... time to think to prohibit cars into school route while commuting time.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I cant stop thinking about this poor Mother, sitting at home tonight somewhere in Tateyama, probably in an unreachable state of shock. The only person who can probably understand what she is going through right now is the Father of the 7 year old killed on Monday. I dont ever want to be able to understand.

For crying out loud - lower the age of responsibility and throw the book at these idiots. If you are old enough to get behind the wheel of a car you are bloody well old enough to take responsibility. Set these bus stops as far back from the road as possible, put up barriers where possible, and where neither is possible, ban cars or set the speed limit to 10kph. You can build useless roads to nowhere with taxpayers money - so how about building some actually useful speed bumps and other road obstacles to slow people down?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

DAMN......THESE PEOPLE. I am getting tired of these types of people. I need to buy a bat and have it next to me at all times. If I witness an accident like this I will go ballistic.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I need to go ballistic......

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

That's three this week alone. The guy was 'preoccupied' thinking about his work and didn't notice hitting a bunch of kids and dragging one poor boy 25 METERS!

This is happening FAR too often, and I think it's perhaps time the police got serious about enforcing the laws instead of just chasing after old men and women on bicycles to make sure they're using lights at night. Give the guy life in prison without parole and see if that maybe helps others things about what they are doing instead of not thinking while they are doing it.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

smith,

I know we had an honest disagreement about another incident. However, I agree with you that there is no doubt in this case. You are right, this is happening way too much.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

What is it with copycat crimes? Coincidence? Sub-conscious desire to be famous/notorious? Like a bad movie genre, please go away....

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Preoccupied with his phone is more like it! At least 80% of the drivers I see are preoccupied by something. Girls doing their make up, men shaving, dogs or children on the lap of a driver, children jumping around unrestrained in the front of the car and, my personal favorite, truck drivers with a newspaper spread across the steering wheel. It is a bloody disgrace! I felt safer riding a mini bike around Bali! Developed country? Biullshit! Wake up Japan!

4 ( +5 / -1 )

R.I.P poor boy in Chiba i hope you didnt suffer.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

R.I.P poor boy in Chiba i hope you didnt suffer.

He was dragged underneath the vehicle for about 25 meters...I think it is safe to assume he suffered greatly!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I don't think there are enough school zones. If there are school zones, I've never seen them enforced like in other places. In my area, vehicles often pass the nearby school at 70 or 80km/h on a 50 km/h local road.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Rest in Peace to this poor little Angel boy. I also hope he didn't suffer at all.

Ban cars from 50% of the streets, and convert them to pedestrian/bike lanes.

Agree totally - but it will never happen in this joint with a relentless car culture. I'm a cyclist myself - a non-driver - and some of the garbage I see drivers pull on a daily basis makes my blood boil. Red lights are simply ignored; morons gun through zebra crossings with kids on them; bike riders are ridden off. I myself was swerved at by a fat moron driver 2 weeks ago who tried to knock me off my bike, and then proceeded to get out of his car and hurl racist abuse at me. I simply laughed at his 5 foot nothing stature and took photos of him and his car on my keitei (which infuriated him - I recommend it). Time for us pedestrians and cyclists to start getting stuck into these brainless drivers here.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Wow..its like it happens in threes

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

This is getting ridiculous... Japanese streets are too unsafe. Something must be done about it.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

For crying out loud - lower the age of responsibility and throw the book at these idiots.

How does that apply in this case? He's 20-years-old. He's an "adult". He will be tried as an adult. He will be made responsible for his actions.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Stories like this seem to be almost a daily occurance now. I dont know how many people die in Japan every year because of cars, but in the US its 42,000 deaths annually. It is absolutely insane how this has become acceptable - the cost of "progress" I guess. Most people in this country wouldn`t think of owning a gun - why own something that is just as dangerous, irresponsible and, especially in Japan, so unnecessary?

Walk, ride a bike, take the train. Please. I can`t take seeing any more stories like this.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

And his mother saw everything. Damn. I'm so sorry for what she must be going through.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

How can you be "distracted" so much while driving a car for God's sakes and crash into a bunch of children waiting for the bus and drag the boy underneath for 25 meters? Seriously Japan, WTF! STOP with this bullsh*t! Drive properly and responsibly!

Argh sorry but this is just getting me mad. I find that people in Japan (although not all obviously) are generally utterly naive and clueless when it comes to safety. This country needs stricter safety laws as well as more awareness. This country has NO awareness when concerning safety. No wonder a nuclear accident of this magnitude was possible! Stop with this naivety... stop thinking you can't cause an accident or you won't get into an accident yourself.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I have to commute about 40 minutes every day to work. There simply isn't any public transport from where I am to my office. I drive EXTREMELY carefully, and yet I find the Japanese roads are terrifying.

Firstly the standard of driving is awful. People think nothing of overtaking 3 cars, in the face of oncoming traffic, and then pulling back into the lane at the last second. In fact the biggest problem is that Japanese drivers seem to have the general attitude that "anything behind me is someone else's problem". Manifestations of this attiude are pulling out of a combini parking into oncoming traffic at a snail's pace and just expecting oncoming traffic to expect this and brake madly to avoid them, or stopping dead in the road in order to let someone out (and most times at night switching their lights off and parking their car there!!).

Secondly the pedestrians and cyclists seem to be labouring under the delusion that cars can stop instantly, and so they step out into the road without any warning. I was driving down a major road in my area last week and 4 guys ran across the road. I had to slam on brakes. The worst part of this? There was a pedestrian crossing just 30 meters away. They simply couldn't be bothered to walk the extra 60 meters to the pedestrian crossing and back, so they just ran out onto a busy road and relied on drivers stopping (regardless of the fact that their actions nearly caused another car to rear-end me).

Finally, the Japanese roads are tiny and narrow. In most cases there simply isn't room to swerve, and often this is what you need to do to gain an extra couple of meters of stopping space. Add to this the tendency of Japanese drivers to just park on the side of the road, turning a 2-lane road into a 1-lane parking garage and you have a recipe for disaster. This habit also makes it very difficult to see pedestrians who are stepping onto the road since you can only see them AFTER they've cleared the parked car they were walking out from behind.

I drive extremely carefully, normally about 10km/hr below the speed limit and honestly even at that speed and being extremely vigilant I've had a few near misses. It isn't speed that kills, it's inconsiderate drivers... although to be fair some pedestrians are pretty idiotic too.

The Japanese police need to start handing out MAJOR fines for bad driving and start paying random drivers to mount dashboard cams so they can see the sort of idiocy that happens daily on the roads.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

Actually, there was another accident this morning, in Okazaki I believe, where another bunch of schoolchildren was hit by also a driver in his early 20s, also busy with something else than looking ahead. If I am not mistaken, last year more than a 1.000 school children were murdered on their way to or coming from school, in a similar manner. Accidents happen, but I think a lot, or maybe most of these accidents could be avoided if people would just take it easy going to or coming from work. I have no problem with hurrying up on the highway, but you just can't do it in the city, especially on those roads with a 30Km/h speed limit. Yes it sounds ridiculously slow, but I take a stroll through the neighborhood every evening and nearly every time there is an instance where I have to get out of the way and/or hide behind a concrete utility pole for a speeding car. I was once bumped of my feet by a taxi and one of the cops on the scene mentioned that taxi drivers are in a hurry. I didn't get the logic of that. I should have had him write that down black on white, some sort of "license to kill" when I get behind the wheel myself. One thing I notice time after time is that drivers seemingly haven't heard of anticipating, i.e. looking further than your nose. Many times a bike or car has to swerve at the last moment in order to avoid you. Maybe pedestrians are just supposed to jump out of the way. And from the paint markings, utility poles perhaps as well.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Well said, Frungy. Geez I wish some of these drivers here (who possibly got their licences in a cereal box) were more like you!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

R.I.P poor boy in Chiba i hope you didnt suffer.

He was dragged underneath the vehicle for about 25 meters...I think it is safe to assume he suffered greatly

he was already dead when they took him to the hospital so i am hoping that he died almost immediately after being pulled under the vehicle and did not suffer the pain of being dragged for 25m across the ground

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I am not mistaken, last year more than a 1.000 school children were murdered on their way to or coming from school, in a similar manner.

You mean more than 100 right? Because the stats don't add up.

Japan's national death toll in relation to auto accidents are under 5,000 which half of what it was 15 years ago. So yes. Based on the figures, it is a "daily occurence".

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

The patterns of driving seem to vary by prefecture. In some places the driving is almost lawless.

Perhaps all bus stops should have a stout rubber-clad utility pole at either end which can take the force of a wayward car.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Well said Frungy!

Okawara was quoted by police as saying he was preoccupied thinking about his work.

Yes, a PT job. Oh so much to think about while you are driving on a road with kids on their way to school.

The level of driving in this country is shocking. I drive to work one day and bike the others. Both are stressful and terrifying due to the twits on the roads - be it drivers, cyclists or pedestrians. Everyone seems to think they have the right of way and that the world revolves around them. It doesn't. This kind of thinking is what leads to all these avoidable deaths.

I am expecting guard rails to go up all over the damn place but nothing done about the education of cyclists and pedestrians nor the level of driving skills. Band-aids over the real issue that people here are too self absorbed in their own little world to watch where they are going. Be it on the road, the sidewalk, on the train... you see these people everyday all day. It needs to stop before more lives are lost.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

"Not that it's their fault in any way, but pedestrians are entirely to nonchalant about killer vehicles running next to them."

Pedestrians and cyclists. People need to take responsibility for their own safety.

So many people don't realize how close to death they are. And I'm getting tired of being the only one who stops to let people cross at pedestrian crossings. I don't really want to be an angry gaijin, but it gets to me when I stop at a crossing for someone to walk across but nobody coming the other direction stops. In my country, if a person is standing at a crossing you stop. I wish more Japanese would realize how precious, but how precious life is.

Maybe AKB48 can do something about it...

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Yasu, I am scared now to stop for people at crosswalks for fear of being hit from behind!! Have seen cars behind me swear to avoid me when I stop for people! And of course, the way the damn system works, IF I got hit, I'd have to fork out some cash. Wrong on so many accounts.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Again??? What is this, crazy driving season?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Japanese are bad drivers just because they don't get fined and reminded those issues.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Again!!! Screw this!! Get your heads out of your asses drivers. Jesus.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

25 meters... how fast was he going?! Sounds like he was sleeping behind the wheel, not just distracted.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Japan's suburban roads are poorly designed and dangerously narrow. That's due to a weak appropriation policy in the postwar era. My urban neighborhood was developed in the 1950s and 60s, yet its roads are best suited for a medieval village: no curbs, sidewalks, or boulevards and electric poles set right on the road!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

All vehicles should be equipped with a pedestrian detection system to avoid collision with a pedestrian if the driver fails to respond in time.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

nigelboy Apr. 27, 2012 - 10:51PM JST You mean more than 100 right? Because the stats don't add up. Japan's national death toll in relation to auto accidents are under 5,000 which half of what it was 15 years ago. So yes. Based on the figures, it is a "daily occurence".

Not necessary a school children, but pedestrians killed in general. In 2008, for the first time, more pedestrians than vehicle occupants were killed in Japan by cars. Japan has made some improvements on road conditions like lighting and separated walkways but they are still dangerous narrow roads for pedestrians to walk. The problem with the younger drivers are that most are inexperienced, and they could be more easily distracted while under the wheel. They should enforce hands free phones with heavy fines.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

25 meters is not a long way for a car to travel after an accident. Its like some of you have never seen a real car before. If for any reason the car began to skid, 25 meters is nothing.

And as sad as this is, sometimes accidents just happen. This one sounds like a far cry from the epileptic guys and the drive all night w/o DL clown.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

tmarieApr. 27, 2012 - 11:18PM JST Yasu, I am scared now to stop for people at crosswalks for fear of being hit from behind!! Have seen cars behind me swear to avoid me when I stop for people! And of course, the way the damn system works, IF I got hit, I'd have to fork out some cash. Wrong on so many accounts.

Don't be afraid to stop tmarie. I tap my brakes very lightly once or twice so my brake lights flash, warning the car behind me, and then I stop just before the crossing... and normally have to wait 3 minutes for the drivers in the opposite direction to stop.

As for liability, I was driving to work last year and some idiot pulled out of a convenience store on the OPPOSITE side of the road, pulled across a lane of traffic, a solid white line and in front of me, in the rain all this about 10m after a traffic signal. Naturally, being a good driver I had been checking to my left and right while approaching and going through the traffic signal, so I didn't see his car until I looked forward again after completing my checks for cars running the red light, at which I had 5 meters to brake... in the rain. I slammed on brakes at about 3 meters (it took me a second or two to register what the hell was going on!) and I would have stopped in time.. except that he was driving at less than 20km/hr (he hadn't bothered to accelerate as he pulled out). In the end I hit the back of his car.

To cut a long story short, the insurance company said it was 100% my fault since I hit him from behind. I complained at them, pointed out all the ways he had caused the accident, and how he should be paying ME, but they were quite firm, if someone rear-ends you then they pay. I was pissed off, I pride myself on being a very safe driver, and I was effectively being penalised for textbook driving.

But on the upside, stop for pedestrian crossings, if someone hits you it's their fault. Under normal circumstances this logic would hold, it's the next driver's responsibility to maintain a safe following distance, but when someone is pulling into traffic it is their responsibility to merge with the flow and not cause an accident.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

How does that apply in this case? He's 20-years...

Obviously as I said idiotS I was referring to these cases in general, like the one on Monday where the driver was under 20.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

It isn't jus the insurance thing. I would rather not be in anaccident! Two beforehand none my fault but it scares me and I am a crap passenger because of it. Drivers here suck the police need to be out ticketing.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Poor little boy! I bet his parents had been waiting to spend some time with him in the golden week.

Anyway is there a new season here in Japan? Season of crashing frenzy minivan into a group of schoolchildren?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

The figures are deliberately skewed by the same-day death certification introduced in the 1970s. You have to be certified dead on the same day an accident happened to be counted as a road fatality.

Oh Patrick, you'll have some howling in protest with that - and trying to compare deaths with gaikoku! The stats in this country are so misleading it isn't even funny! How many in Kyoto were written as "died of heart attack" not car accident??

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

What a horrible, horrible way to die!! Poor little 6 year old, RIP little buddy! As for this 20 year old bastard, needs to hang!! Too worried about his shitty part time job?? Well now he will have plenty of time to worry about more things than his crappy part time job because he took the life of an innocent 6 year old little boy! I can not even imagine the pain and suffering the family of this little 6 year old must be going through!! I agree with YongYang, these kind of fools must be taken out, how on earth do these idiot fools even get behind the wheel is beyond me!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

speeding too fast in a neighborhood was a factor !!!!!!

Speed bumps are needed especially close to the schools.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Not necessary a school children, but pedestrians killed in general.

sfjp330. My response to was forzaducati in which he/she claimed 1,000 "school children" were murdered.

The figures are deliberately skewed by the same-day death certification introduced in the 1970s. You have to be certified dead on the same day an accident happened to be counted as a road fatality. If someone is in a coma for a day and then the machine is switched off, they don't count as a traffic fatality. This is a very dangerous halving of the true figures that gives the impression the roads are safer than they honestly are

Japan tracks two different figures. You can add approximately 800~900 to the figure I quoted above if you're so technical about it.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

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