crime

Truck driver gets 14 years in fatal drunk driving case

34 Comments

The Chiba District Court on Friday sentenced a 61-year-old man to 14 years in prison for dangerous driving resulting in death and injury after the truck he was driving plowed into a group of schoolchildren, killing two of them and injuring three others in Yachimata, Chiba Prefecture, last year.

During his trial, Hiroshi Umezawa pleaded guilty and admitted that he had consumed a 220-milliliter bottle of shochu 30 minutes before the accident at a truck rest area on June 28, 2021, Fuji TV reported. Alcohol in excess of the legal limit was detected when Umezawa was given a breathalyzer test, prosecutors said.

The accident occurred at around 3:30 p.m. while the children were on their way home from school. Witnesses said Umezawa’s truck crashed into the group of four boys and a girl after hitting a utility pole when he suddenly swerved to the left, Kyodo News reported. The children were aged between 6 and 10. Two of the boys, aged 7 and 8, died later in hospital.

At the time, Umezawa was working for a Yachimata transport company and had been on duty since 6 a.m. that morning.

During the subsequent investigation, Umezawa’s co-workers said he had been drinking alcohol while on duty for the past five years and that they had repeatedly warned him against it.

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34 Comments
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I expected at least 20 years.

15 ( +25 / -10 )

No winners here. Sorry for hear this news.

6 ( +15 / -9 )

Perhaps the workers should have told the boss or the police BEFORE there was a death.

21 ( +29 / -8 )

220ml is nothing for somebody who drinks everyday for 5 years.

I don’t know, but just a sad accident?

14 years is more than somebody would get for murder, rape or nationalistic abuse of power. He will probably die in prison. 10 yrs.

I hope the children’s parents feel closure.

-15 ( +7 / -22 )

Alcohol in excess of the legal limit

What is the legal limit in Japan? I assumed that any amount is over the limit.

1 ( +10 / -9 )

14 years is justice and fitting for the crime

However the fact that his co workers knew he was frequently drunk on the job is negligence .

Sincere condolences for the innocent children whose life had barely begun and to the grieving families and friends.

-10 ( +10 / -20 )

Kyo wa heiwa dayo ne: "14 years is justice and fitting for the crime"

I disagree. 14 years per child, maybe, but definitely not 14 years total.

9 ( +19 / -10 )

Where is the consistency with sentencing? Only 14 years for ending 2 young lives and maiming 3 others for life ? - This 61-year-old admittedly DUI killing 2 kids when just days before this accident, on May 31, 2021,

another unlicensed 51-year-old defendant was sentenced to death for his hit & run killing of 2 adult roadside workers May 31, 2021 with a stolen passenger truck.

- Jun 29, 2021 story: - https://japantoday.com/category/crime/truck-driver-sentenced-to-death-for-hit-and-run-deaths-of-two-people - 

19 ( +21 / -2 )

rule no 1 dont drink and than drive.

remained question-what company did about that to stop that guys "drinking habbts"?seems completely nothing?

13 ( +16 / -3 )

These followup stories keep repeating Umezawa’s coworkers warned him but don’t mention if Yachimata Transport Company’s supervisors & dispatchers were also aware of the defendant’s alcohol addiction?

The company had to be grossly neglectful in the supervision of their drivers and/or sent him out anyway.

If even partially-culpable, the trucking company has to be made to suffer significant financial penalties, be restricted for traveling in residential areas and to pay restitution to the families of the deceased as well as for the full rehabilitation of the surviving children.

17 ( +19 / -2 )

This in a country were the "acceptable" alchohol leven while driving is basically zero.

14 years? I hope the surviving families bring a civil action against this driver, the other drivers who knew about his drinking and the truck company.

12 ( +16 / -4 )

Umezawa's co-workers are quilty as co-murderers. For five years, he was drinking while on the job and they never reported him to the Police. This has lead to the eventual death of the children.

12 ( +16 / -4 )

The accident occurred at around 3:30 p.m. while the children were on their way home from school. Witnesses said Umezawa’s truck crashed into the group of four boys and a girl after hitting a utility pole when he suddenly swerved to the left, Kyodo News reported. The children were aged between 6 and 10. Two of the boys, aged 7 and 8, died later in hospital.

I will not lie and self righteously state I have never drunk and driven in the UK.

In Japan the judiciary will rip your head off and kick it around the court room.

To drink and drive in Japan, when there are taxis to shove you in the back seat, and chauffeur you home, expect no quarter.

That is before two of the boys, aged 7 and 8, died later in hospital.

That is a life sentence for the families.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

He should get a far longer sentence than 14years However Japan's justice system is a little bent and to take in consider of his age after 14 years he will be 75 and will start to become a burden on the prison system and staff so they will kick him out to fend for himself, most if not all of his family will have disowned him by then and his wife will have divorce him and taken ownership of the house to avoid paying any compensation to the victims families. that is just how it is done here in Japan.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

During the subsequent investigation, Umezawa’s co-workers said he had been drinking alcohol while on duty for the past five years and that they had repeatedly warned him against it.

His coworkers and the company should also be punished for letting him continue to drink on the job. Why wasn't he fired after being caught?

14 years for mowing down a bunch of kids is far too lenient. He should get life - at his age, he'll die in prison and never see the light of day again.

12 ( +14 / -2 )

14 years of sentence sounds very short, after driving drunk, and on top of that, killing 2 children.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

They allowed him to continue drinking on duty for 5 years ?

The alcoholic drunk driving man is not the only person who should be held accountable.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

20 years would be a more appropriate sentence IMO.

The company's operations manager should get done for manslaughter, too.

How long is this society going to allow this carnage to continue?

(Again) some sobering road fatality stats from WHO (2016; per 100,000 of population):

Ireland - 4.1 (of which Pedestrians 19%; Cyclists 5%) 

Israel - 4.2 (of which Pedestrians 29%; Cyclists 3%)

Japan - 4.1 (of which Pedestrians 35%; Cyclists 15%)

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Smithinjapan -

Your entitled to your own opinion as thats what the comments sections purpose is.

-7 ( +3 / -10 )

Co-workers had repeatedly warned him against drinking on the job. Why didn't they report it to the boss or if that didn't work, the police? It could have saved lives. Sometimes you have to do what is right.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

The silent co-workers and their silent manager deserve a few years of jail time each one. Silence kills.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Negligence

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

I expected rope for the trucker and business license suspension for the employer.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

He deserved life sentence in jail ...

Those kids won't come back. But this ossan will come back to society one day. Unacceptable

5 ( +7 / -2 )

The alcohol level in Japan is almost zero.

Drinking a 220ml bottle of 50+ proof alcohol would probably be over the legal limit in most countries.

I expected at least 20 years.

2 things that carry underwhelming sentences in Japan tends to be vehicular manslaughter and killing children. Both cases were present here so I am not totally surprised.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

What is the legal limit in Japan?

I've read that it's 0.3mg in 1ml of blood or 0.15ml in 1L of breath.

I don't think there is a distinction in Japan of driving while over the limit and driving while under the influence. But please correct me if I'm wrong about that.

I remember things got much stricter back in the 90s when even passengers could be charged if the driver was over the limit. It seemed to change habits in a big way. Before that, friends might push the driver to take them home, knowing he'd been drinking. (I'm guilty of that - as a passenger and a driver.) The change had an effect, on my extended family at least. Taxis, mini-buses, etc. for family drinking events seem to be the norm now.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Just 14 years??..

Deserved gallows..

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Alcohol in excess of the legal limit

What is the legal limit in Japan? I assumed that any amount is over the limit.

Actually, even the slightest sense of alcohol could have you arrested for DUI in Japan.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

This guy deserved way more time in jail. Constantly drinking and driving with co-workers and company knowing it. At least 30 years minimum.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

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