crime

Student flees with body of 80-yr-old woman on car bonnet in Tochigi

70 Comments

A 23-year-old woman was arrested for vehicular manslaughter and fleeing the scene of an accident on Sunday, after she allegedly hit an 80-year-old woman with her car as she was driving home from a friend's house in Utsunomiya City.

Michiko Sato, a technical school student, is accused of hitting Shige Ami, 80, on Route 293 just after 4 a.m. with the impact sending Ami partly through the windshield. Sato then continued driving and parked her car at home some 7 kilometers away from the scene of the accident, before calling a friend who in turn called police.

Police went to Sato's home and found Ami's body still on the bonnet of the car with her head through the windscreen. An ambulance was called but Ami was confirmed dead at the scene, and is believed to have died shortly after the impact.

Sato has admitted to hitting Ami and said she panicked which is why she didn't stop and went straight home. Sato was not injured in the accident, police added.

© News reports

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So the old woman's head was sticking through the windshield (probably damn near close to the student's face) and the student drove another 7 kilometers with the dead woman there.

shudder

Sato has admitted to hitting Ami and said she panicked which is why she didn’t stop and went straight home.

I'm surprised she didn't panic when the old woman took her last breath right in front of her!

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I'm not surprised that this happens quite often in Japan. If anyone watches much Japanese tv, especially the detective shows you'll see it is a common recurring theme. Seemed to happen almost every second week in "Hakure keiji".

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What was the 80 year old woman doing walking on the road at 4 am in Utsonimiya in the middle of winter? Also very hard to believe that she was not thrown off the bonnet when the car cornered. What a story!!

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I can sympathize with how someone may hit a pedestrian, think they've either severely wounded or even killed them, panic, and out of a selfish instinct to put physical distance between himself and the body/scene of the crime drive away. It's wrong, but I can understand how someone would panic enough to do that. But this, to drive a significant distance (7 km) and time (roughly 7+ minutes?) with the body of the person you hit fixed to the hood of your car with the head smashed through the windshield INSIDE the car is beyond me. Way too gruesome; belongs more in a Stephen King story...

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ugh...Disgusting image. I guess it is possible that she was in such shock that she didn't stop but..ugh...

A student, driving home at 4am...good chance that she had been drinking, I figure or could have been really tired. Anyway, her life is about to take a terrible turn. Rest in peace to the woman.

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I wonder what her trial will be like compared to the US soldier.

Moderator: Irrelevant comparison.

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This is tragic.

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unbelievable.

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Did she die? it doesn't say..

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Did she die? it doesn't say..

vehicular manslaughter says that to most people.

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"Vehicular manslaughter" ... yes, the victim died.

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vulcan

Did she die? it doesn't say..

"An ambulance was called but Ami was confirmed dead at the scene, and is believed to have died shortly after the impact."

Helps if you read past the first few lines...

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I wonder what the elderly lady was doing out there at 4 a.m.

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Would be interested to see the sentence she gets

I don't think she will be charged with abandoning the body cos she took it home with her. Leaving the scene of an accident would also not be possible as she again brought the accident home with her.

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Disillusioned's comments are morbidly hilarious, thanks for cheering us up! The Japanese fellow who intentionally hit me with his car while I was walking home in a pedestrain zone, then jumped out, savagely assaulted me in front of Japanese eyewitnesses, left my body lying in the road & fled the crime scene, was found guilty of assault, fined 300,000 JPY of which I received nothing, and released. No jail time at all, no suspended sentence. go figure.

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As mentioned, why was an 80 years old woman walking along a road at 4AM??

Utsunomiya.... surprise, surprise...

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This is all so gruesome and so insane that the only possible reaction on our side is humour.

Thank you Disillusioned !

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The old lady might have suffered from insomnia. She probably went out for a walk. The question here is not what she was doing out at 4 a.m but why she had to be hit and die in that gruesome way. RIP baachan...

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Yeah just saw it on the news, that car was really messed up from the impact. But yeah you dont expect some 80 year old woman to be walking into the road in the dark at 4am, so its sad all around.

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If she's anything like the 80-year old women in my neighborhood, she was probably out delivering newspapers. Hitting a body hard enough to drive it through a windshield indicates quite some speed. And what was a 23-year old doing driving home at 04:00? This reeks of DUI.

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What is up with the English here. Its a hood and windshield!

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Whether or not Miss Sato was paying attention or not when the accident happened is up in the air. Ami clearly was not paying attention.

This was reported on national TV. It is a straight stretch of road and no lights and no pedestrian crosswalk in sight. It is sad that Miss Sato had to get involved in this woman's apparent suicide. In a country where we are told its always your fault if you are driving, even if a pedestrian comes out of nowhere into your path, its no wonder Miss Sato panicked. And now here she is arrested.

The old woman is dead so she cannot apologize. Her family should in her place. You don't let old ladies wonder around like that, and they were irresponsible letting it happen. Seriously, she could have taken Miss Sato to hell with her. Actually, I guess in a way she did.

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I think it is fair to ask why she was out. For all we know she was dressed in black and in the middle of the road with a death wish.

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Bonnet and windscreen are English terms and are correct use of the language.

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Disillusioned, same here, thx, trajic but good point. I feel horrible for laughing, I do...

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I've met plenty of old ladies (okay, three or four) who tell me they wake up around 3:30 or 4am and go exercise in the park. They also go to bed around 8pm. I think they're nuts, but ... well ... that would be one explanation for this old woman getting hit.

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People are so stupid here. Hit an old woman and then drive her home with you. Crazy. Jail is too good for her. The parents should be locked up too for raising such a stupid girl.

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Terribly sad. There are terrible drivers out there who don't pay attention. And there are two many people, especially older women who walk on roads without paying attention. There needs to be some serious road education in this country.

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To Cliffworks: R u for real? Did that really happen to u? U're scaring me. I am married to a Japanese lady now, nd I guess I have to live the remaining yrs. of my life here.

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reminds me of a movie i saw last year.. what was it again..?

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yasukuni: Terribly sad. There are terrible drivers out there who don't pay attention.

I wonder if you will be saying the same thing if you hit an old person or have a close call. I have had some close calls with the oldies here. I remember one particularly well. It was about 2:30 a.m. on the darkest road you can imagine, between a mountain a wooded area. I was not sure if it was a ghost or an old man in white at first. He was nearly both. Had he been wearing black, he probably would have been a goner. I blame him completely. My headlights were on. If he can't see them or time his crossing properly, or even be bothered to find a crosswalk, he belongs nowhere near a roadway. Same with this old lady.

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People are so stupid here. Hit an old woman and then drive her home with you. Crazy. Jail is too good for her. The parents should be locked up too for raising such a stupid girl.

The usual witch hunt and lynch mob mentality. What exactly did this 23 year old girl do to deserve a fate worst than jail with her family getting locked up too then ?? She can be charged with failing to stop at the scene of an accident, but with an old woman stuck through her windscreen I can understand the panic and horror. And what's with the manslaughter charge ? The reports stated that the stretch of road had no street lights or crossing and it was 4 in the morning ! She didn't go on the run and drove straight home so she wasn't exactly hiding evidence.

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She could have driven to a hospital instead ...

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neganip: She could have driven to a hospital instead ...

If a 23 year old female technical school student can't properly handle a crisis while starting at the bashed-in bloodied face of a dead old woman poking through her windshield, then tell me...Who can?

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The law here is full of contradiction. Here we have a girl being charged with manslaughter, despite all the evidence pointing to the fact that the deceased was walking in very dangerous conditions at 4 in the morning. Walking on my way home from Shibuya this evening a car was parked over the pedestrian line on a narrow one way street with the driver making a pickup from a store. By complete coincidence, at the same time that I had to walk into the road to pass the parked car a policeman was cycling past. Did he stop to assess the dangerous situation ? Did he think about warning the driver ? Nope, he just cycled past. As usual. Instead of dealing with the everyday situations of danger (vehicles going through red lights, drivers talking on their mobile phones, people parking on pedestrian zones) the police just pick on easy targets like this 23 year old.

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Of course the Legal Minds at JT miss the obvious.

One, a vehicle in the hands of anyone is a weapon or a mode of transport. Whether the pedestrian is in the right or wrong makes no difference ANYWHERE. The larger has to keep attention for surprises. You know, what's it called, oh yeah...defensive driving. Two, this a weekend where 20 year olds turn of age, from last year, meaning a 23 year old could have have had some drinks before driving with her friends who turned 20 last year. Three, the 23 year old's friend turned her into police. Perhaps the friend knew, or felt the 23 yo driver was not in their best frame of mind, hence, DRUNK, on this weekend. So glad to connect the dots for the wanna be Perry Masons and Matchlocks out there.

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Whether the pedestrian is in the right or wrong makes no difference ANYWHERE.

Sorry, but that is rubbish. If you are driving within the speed limit and someone throws themselves under your car, you cannot stop in time. Also, if there were witnesses and you stopped and called the police you would be innocent of any crime.

this a weekend where 20 year olds turn of age, from last year, meaning a 23 year old could have have had some drinks before driving with her friends who turned 20 last year.

Your calculator is missing a couple of years. The eldest you can be today and celebrating coming of age day is 21. She is 23 !

was not in their best frame of mind, hence, DRUNK, on this weekend.

There is absolutely no evidence anywhere at this stage that the 23 year old had alcohol in her blood. Your dots are all over the place.

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I wonder what her trial will be like compared to the US soldier.

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ptolemy: Whether the pedestrian is in the right or wrong makes no difference ANYWHERE.

Baloney. That aside, its odd that you seem to believe that would be okay if true. There is only way to get yourself hit by a car when on the road (as opposed to on the sidewalk or in a field) and that is to be careless. If you are actually crossing the road with no signal and no crosswalk, then its upgraded to completely careless. I always put the blame on the completely careless person, but maybe that is just me.

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Of course it's not the old lady's fault, but everytime i go out at night there's tons of people walking in narrow roads (with no sidewalks of course) in the dark and wearing dark clothes. Even with my acute vision and reflexes, it's a challenge to get home without getting one of them stuck in my grill.

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I think it could very well be poor judgment on both the driver and the pedestrian. The 23-year-old, who was likely tired at 4 in the morning, thought she was okay to drive but being sleepy her reaction time was slowed. The 80-year-old, perhaps out for an early morning walk, misjudged the time it would take to cross or her sight wasn't good enough to see the car. Unfortunately though, the young girl is more to blame because she is the one powering a ton of steel.

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Whether the pedestrian is in the right or wrong makes no difference ANYWHERE.

Not true. In NY at least if the pedestrian is jaywalking or darts into traffic (kid chasing ball) or steps out from behind a visual obstruction into the path of the car then there probably won't even be a traffic ticket. Most certainly not vehicular manslaughter, unless the driver was DUI or unlicensed.

people who want to commit suicide

yeah, too often. Driving in Baltimore with my sister the psych nurse one night I was warned to watch out for the pedestrians downtown because many were drunk and some were psycho and suicidal and stepping in front of a car was a way to off themsleves.

After all, how many fools jump in front of trains in Japan?

Finally, you do get people who have dementia who have no idea what is going on. It is possible that the old woman did something completely unexpected. Or just stumbled.

Guess I don't understand why people think the girl should go to jail based on the information presented.

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Apparently the laws in Japan dictate that the driver of the vehicle is charged regardless of the circumstances surrounding the accident. I could rant all day about how the driver shouldn't be charged, but if that's the law in Japan, that's the law.

ca1ic0cat raises a good point that needs to be looked at. People are asking why the woman was walking in the street and this could very well be a case of dementia. Elderly dementia sufferers will wake up with no idea where they are and start wandering aimlessly trying to find someplace familiar. When I was a member of our Civil Air Patrol, we were mobilized to the southern part of the state to help locate a missing dementia patient. She walked out of her house one night in just her nightgown and wasn't found until three days later in some woods. She had apparently died due to hypothermia.

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Guess I don't understand why people think the girl should go to jail based on the information presented.

Hit and run for starters. Reckless disregard for human life --she might have been alive but in desperate need of medical attention. This wanton driver decided (she decided, as in made herself judge/adjudicator) it would be better to drive home cuz "that was the right thing to do."

For all we know, she might not have been at fault for hitting the woman, however, running away puts the onus on the driver now.

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Lots of assumptions on both sides for most here. In any case, I feel for both sides, and I will be even MORE cautious while driving...

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dolphingirl: Unfortunately though, the young girl is more to blame because she is the one powering a ton of steel.

That just makes no sense at all! If two people walking collide, do you just blame the larger person?

blvtzpk: Lots of assumptions on both sides for most here.

When a car is coming, I always assume that it will stay on the road, and not come up on the sidewalk, into the field, climb the shoulder, smack the telephone pole I am standing next to etc. I also assume I will be safe if I stay off the road until it passes. This assumption has worked for me so far. And anybody who assumes different from me and gets hit by walking on the road thinking, maybe, the car will swerve, well, you are right, I assume they are at fault.

Cars are not all that mysterious. They are in fact highly predictable. Pedestrians are not. So why put the onus on the driver to make the harder prediction? I am all for measures to make them pay attention, but not if it means chucking all sense. No one could have saved the old woman more than the old woman herself.

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I think that as Japanese society ages, we are going to see more and more accidents involving either elderly drivers or elderly pedestrians. My friends here are always complaining about them, and warning me to be wary of them. A couple of months ago I saw an old woman driving her mobile scooter in the centerline of a very busy road. The other drivers were furious!

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I saw this on the news last night. Windshield is totaled.

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Sato then continued driving and parked her car at home some 7 kilometers away from the scene of the accident, before calling a friend who in turn called police.

Only reason people flee scene of accident is when they were wrong and have something to hide; 7km with body on bonnet is inhumane!!..should be charged with voluntary manslaughter

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BenHur: I think the film you watched was called "Stuck". Mena Suvari and Stephen Rea. The parallels with this real-life story are uncanny.

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this a weekend where 20 year olds turn of age, from last year, meaning a 23 year old could have have had some drinks before driving with her friends who turned 20 last year

Your calculator is missing a couple of years. The eldest you can be today and celebrating coming of age day is 21. She is 23 !

@Northlondon: How about understanding what has been said before commenting..The guy said the girl was celebrating with friends who turned 20..NOT that the girl is the one coming of age

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It's about time Japan changes its laws and acknowledge that pedestrians and bicyclists have personal respinsibility for their actions and that roadways are for moving vehicles.

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Gee, I think it's this part, perspective and northlondon...

Sato then continued driving and parked her car at home some 7 kilometers away from the scene of the accident, before calling a friend who in turn called police.

No call for an ambulance, didn't stop....

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betterdays: Only reason people flee scene of accident is when they were wrong and have something to hide

Sounds like two reasons. And there are more still.

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Sure saw this first on the website of my local Australian paper. Its that disgusting it even made the news in Australia. I must say that in Australia leaving the scene of an accident especially one in which someone has been killed is considered a very serious offense and almost always results in a jail term. Usually the driver runs due to intoxication, obvious negligence or fault or in the most rarest of cases because they didn't hear the impact of the body. It does happen with today's sound proofed cars. In this case it is unclear if the young female driver was intoxicated. Its unclear if the young female driver was negligent or even at fault. It is clear however that the young female driver was aware that she had in fact impacted someone. That is obvious. What the young female driver then did was continue to drive for 7km..........my paper says 10km. Instead of stopping. Rendering assistance to victim and or calling for assistance. No she just kept driving. When it may have been possible to save this woman's life. This is disgusting, reprehensible and completely indefensible. A clear message must be sent to the public of Japan. This unacceptable. A lengthy jail term is of around 5 years is appropriate in this case I believe. Id liked to add I am so disgusted with the majority of comments.Is an 80 year old woman's life that meaningless that you have to jump blindly to the protection of a YOUNG woman. Shame on you.

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Can anyone here please explain to me, how you're driving along - hit an old woman(whose head goes through your windscreen!!) and proceed to drive(for 7 km) home. Talk about headcases!!(Pardon the pun)

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ollywood thats why she is going to finish what ever she was doing in jail. Time for Japan to stand up. Respect the elders. The strength they have given us. This cant be tolerated. The hardest punishment must come down.

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I think she was obviously drunk

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-all the more reason I don't like sharing the road with young people. If your vehicle has any sort of problem you are almost always ahead to stop when it is safe to do so.

-walk/bike against traffic (when possible) -much safer.

Only plausible solutions to continue: Hospital is close and you are better off making it than waiting -good luck doing that at 4am in Japan. No cell phone.

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Northlondon: How about understanding what has been said before commenting..The guy said the girl was celebrating with friends who turned 20..NOT that the girl is the one coming of age

betterdays, I understood completely when I was responding. People are just making up the prosecution evidence here. The fact it was coming of age day the following day has nothing to do with this whatsoever. And the accused is 23 therefore her friends are also more likely to be 23, not 20. And (I keep repeating myself here) there is absolutely no evidence at this stage that the police found any alcohol in her blood. Who decided that she was celebrating with friends who had turned 20 ?? Posters on a website called Japan Today, that's who ! These made-up accusations that she was drinking and that she was at a coming of age party are just that, made-up by internet posters sitting on their comfy sofas at home.

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I think she was obviously drunk

That's exactly it. It's just what YOU think. Unfortunately you are not in the police division collecting evidence on this matter.

Id liked to add I am so disgusted with the majority of comments.Is an 80 year old woman's life that meaningless that you have to jump blindly to the protection of a YOUNG woman. Shame on you.

masterkun05, I hope and pray for the good of law and order that you are not a judge or a lawyer. Although whilst reading your post it is quite obvious that you are not. Nobody is jumping blindly to the defence of the 'young' woman. We are merely damping down the fires of a modern day witch hunt and lynch-mob mentality. Have you asked yourself why the 80 year old deceased was out walking on an unlit and deserted stretch of road with no crossing at 4 in the morning ? And the driver did not run away. She drove home. With a body stuck through her windscreen and parked outside her home. Not exactly hiding evidence now is it ? Clearly this girl panicked in a major way, although is that just reason to take her liberty for, in your words, 5 years ? Even if the accident was not her fault ?

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I think she was obviously drunk

you don't have to be drunk to as Northlondon posted

Have you asked yourself why the 80 year old deceased was out walking on an unlit and deserted stretch of road with no crossing at 4 in the morning ?

you just have to be unlucky.

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None of us know the medical condition of either the driver or the victim, so any assertations of things being "obvious" are obviously not.

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North London thats my way ..brother whats this. U all dont get it do you. Its not the accident. We all make accidents in our lives. Its that she kept going. I want to bring Australian law here and jail her.

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The failure to render proper care for the dieing is a criminal offence.

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5 YEARS otherwise I will make something of it.

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Failure to render assistance

Jail sentence!

Failure to help a human being in pain and agony.....

endless bad karma!
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ollywood: Can anyone here please explain to me, how you're driving along - hit an old woman(whose head goes through your windscreen!!) and proceed to drive(for 7 km) home.

Lets see. First there is the plan to escape, possibly hoping no one will see you with a body on the hood, then hoping no one sees you burying that body in your flower garden. Its a pretty crap plan, but its possible.

Another is that she completely freaked out and just did not know what to do. People freak like that and all they can think of his is home, friends and sometimes momma. Everybody wants this young woman to act like a trained medic in a combat zone. Get real. She was just a young woman suddenly faced with a bloody corpse through her windshield in a country where you essentially get the blame no matter what happened.

I am with northlondon. The total lack of empathy and the witch-hunt mentality here is really stale. Its all fun and games until its your turn people.

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4AM, dead body on your car, you drive 7kms with it there, get home, park and call a friend? - Sounds like DUI to me...

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"I think she was obviously drunk."

The Asahi Shinbun (Monday January 11 morning edition) has reported that in fact, alcohol was involved and that the suspect had been drinking.

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