crime

Woman hits infant with car, claims to be eyewitness

32 Comments

Police said Monday they have arrested a care worker in Mihama, Mie Prefecture, after it emerged that she hit and seriously injured a 1-year-old girl with her car and then posed as an eyewitness to the incident.

According to police, the woman, who has been named as 33-year-old Setsumi Hamaguchi, was driving through Mihama on Route 42 at around 7 p.m. on Friday when she allegedly hit 1-year-old Yuina Yabu with her vehicle, Fuji TV reported. The infant sustained a cerebral contusion and other injuries in the incident and remains in a critical condition in hospital.

Police said that Hamaguchi told them she stopped her car and ran back and picked Yuina up in her arms at which point she was approached by the girl's father. Hamaguchi claimed to have been an eyewitness to the hit-and-run incident, Fuji reported.

Police later discovered the truth during questioning. Hamaguchi was quoted as saying she was scared and couldn't tell the truth.

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32 Comments
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On reading these comments what I find fascinating is that there was a nearly identical incident a few months ago. All that differed was that the driver was male. The child was about a little older and in the road. In that case everyone was prepared to lynch the driver, claiming that it was impossible for the driver to miss the child in the road, and it must have been deliberate.

I do think this isn't the driver's fault, but I also find the gender imbalances in Western society fascinating.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I am going to assume that most of who asked what was the father doing don't have children. Kids are fast, summer is hot and the windows open. My child did the same thing at 18 months. He was watching tv, I went into the kitchen for some water. While I was searching the neighbor brought him back. We were lucky!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Basroil have you stopped to think that maybe pedestrians do what they do because they know if a car hits them they will get a payout from that family and the drive will most lickely go to jail.

I am a driver and I see bikes crossing red signals with no care in the world just strolling across the crossing like they own it, and the drivers that do care slow down and let them pass and the ones behind them nearly smash into the back of them.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Simon PhillipsAug. 14, 2012 - 01:04PM JST

I have to agree with the comments that no matter the fault the driver is always to blame and will pay. I see it every day with bikes and everything!

Well then, next time you get hit by an illegally turning car turn yourself into the police for causing an accident.

I see it every day, with pedestrians running into traffic and everything!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I have to agree with the comments that no matter the fault the driver is always to blame and will pay. I see it every day with bikes and everything!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

AlternateUniverseAug. 14, 2012 - 09:38AM JST

You don't know how soon after she stopped! You don't know if she saw the child and was already braking hard when she hit!

If she slammed on the breaks everyone would have been able to hear it. Breaks are not quiet.

Death is highly dependent on how one is hit and how one lands. Speed is just one factor.

Actually it's highly dependent on speed, and direction, very little to do with landing. Especially true of children that are much closer to the ground. For as much damage as they claim, it was probably a hit by the front left bumper near the corner, which in most cars would be just around the height of a toddler. With that type of impact, it doesn't really matter how the kid landed, the first impact would have done most of the damage.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Considering she was able to stop very soon after, and the girl isn't dead, this woman probably wasn't going that much higher speed anyway.

What?! You don't know how soon after she stopped! You don't know if she saw the child and was already braking hard when she hit! You don't if she hit the girl full on or if she just clipped her! And on a narrow road, speeding does not mean going fast! It means breaking a low speed limit! The fact that the girl is alive tells us next to nothing. Death is highly dependent on how one is hit and how one lands. Speed is just one factor.

Some accidents are unavoidable no matter what you do (both victims), and this is one of those.

You are right there.

but he technically wasn't involved in it.

This is like saying that someone who failed to engage the parking brake and had their car roll down a hill was not technically involved. Whoever let the girl run free was technically involved.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

The kid is the only one physically injured so my prayers go out to her. As far as neglect and other factors, posts will abound. I think this was a tragic accident complicated by fear as a an initial reaction. At 7p.m. we still have daylight so parents may be more relaxed, especially in rural areas. Heaven only knows what the ones who are the most critical "posters" will do in the same or similar situation. An Adrenalin rush can help or cause havoc. In the driver's case, it was the latter. My heart goes out to all parties involved. I pray that kid survives, she'll be better supervised and cared for, all parties have suffered enough. However, the driver has more misery to follow.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

basroll:

" Considering she was able to stop very soon after, and the girl isn't dead, this woman probably wasn't going that much higher speed anyway. Some accidents are unavoidable no matter what you do "

Yeah. A one year old is tiny... impossible to see when close to the car. What the heck was a one-year old doing alone on Route 42!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

AlternateUniverseAug. 13, 2012 - 10:36PM JST

by the laws of physics, she could not have prevented this except to drive 15 kph at all times.

Considering she was able to stop very soon after, and the girl isn't dead, this woman probably wasn't going that much higher speed anyway. Some accidents are unavoidable no matter what you do (both victims), and this is one of those. The father could have easily prevented the accident, but he technically wasn't involved in it.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I take one thing back, maybe. It may well be that someone else is to blame for the little girl not being properly attended, and its the father who realized that person screwed up and was the faster to act.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

The woman lied? Well, I don't know what happened, but can you imagine an angry father roaring like a lion, nothing between him and her, and her thinking "How can I make it through this?" Why can I easily imagine an angry shouting father? Because this is Japan and pedestrians have the right of way no matter what! This inattentive father probably has no idea that he has himself to blame more than anyone, because the law stupidly puts in ALL on her automatically. She is toast. She will go through the wringer. She will get no mercy and no quarter, despite the fact that the odds are that by the laws of physics, she could not have prevented this except to drive 15 kph at all times.

7 pm is dusk not dark. Dusk is the hardest time to see. I would put some blame on the driver if she were speeding down a narrow street in a residential area. If this were a wide road though, the father is to blame totally IMHO.

As for picking the girl up, it may well be that the girl got up herself first and the woman wanted to prevent her running and getting hit again.

I hope this poor little girl will pull through and not suffer an ill effect. I further hope this experience shook the father's head out of his posterior.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

First of all, she wasn't lying. She WAS an eyewitness to the accident (certainly far more so then the child's caregiver apparently was). She just left out the part about her also being a participant in the accident until questioned later.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I can understand the woman being scared and lying about it. I don't agree with it but I can understand. What I don't understand is why the father was not close enough to his child to prevent her from being in the street or to witness the accident.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Obviously the father was not near by watching his curious one year old if the woman was able to lie to him about hitting the child. What parent would leave a year old baby outside, that late none the less, without supervision? I hope the child makes a full recovery. Last I want to hear about is another child death that could have easily been prevented if the parents would keep their young away from rivers, open windows, roads, or anything obviously hazardous.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

This story, news, makes no sense! What in the hell was a 1 year old doing out at night?? on a national high way road?? Stupid parents or worse would ever allow for a 1 year old to get out of their sight and have this kind of tragedy happen.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

When people are scared out of their wits to be prosecuted for accidents that are completely out of their control, changes need to be made to the system. But when a society is run by 70 plus year old beauracrats, these necessary changes are not seen as necessary. The system is outdated by about 50 years.

S

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The article makes it sound as if she is a villain, but clearly she did not run over the girl on purpose. And obviously, she did not run away, but rather stopped and picked the girl up.

That she was too scared to tell to tell the father that she had just done that is soft of understandable, even if it is wrong.

I would really like to know what the 1-year old was doing on the street?? And with the father nearby???

4 ( +4 / -0 )

smithinjapanAug. 13, 2012 - 06:34PM JST

Not responsible for hitting her, perhaps, especially if the kid darted out in front of the car. But not responsible for then pretending to be an eye-witness instead of the person that hit her?

Lying to the father isn't a crime, just not being a good person. The article is poorly written, so we don't know if she also initially lied to police, but from what is written there it likely was lying only to the father.

It seems that she followed all the proper protocol, and a 1 year old is impossible to see from between cars or at close distances. The woman will have enough punishment simply remember the event, and hopefully the father too. It seems to be an accident pure and simple, something that could have been avoided but not by the victims. Hopefully they will give the woman serious psychiatric help, as she most likely will need it.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

tokyokawasaki: "If the baby was not visible, then the driver cannot really be held responsible - Although we need more information."

Not responsible for hitting her, perhaps, especially if the kid darted out in front of the car. But not responsible for then pretending to be an eye-witness instead of the person that hit her?

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

If the baby was not visible, then the driver cannot really be held responsible - Although we need more information.

You have to ask why was a one year in the path of a car at 7pm....

However, the driver should be charged with being an idiot for picking the baby up... You should never move someone after an accident. Not at least until you have performed an examination of their condition. If serious internal injuries are possible, you should not touch them (other than checking their airways) until the very slow ambulance arrives....

If the person has neck or spinal injuries, you can easily make the situation much worse by moving them...

Is basic first aid taught in Japanese schools?

7 ( +8 / -1 )

And where is the rest of the story. Why is a one year old in the road all by herself?

8 ( +8 / -0 )

very unfortunate incident, under stress, many people might lie about it too.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

What was the kid doing on the road? I think the father has questions to be answered as well.

12 ( +12 / -0 )

@Zatsu: Seeing as the men, no women do, who ride in the back or actually drive ambulances, have oonly recently being given some kind of Paramedic status, with training, it is most unlikely this care giver would have any in depth know how of how to deal with injuries / accidents. I truly do wish Japanese would look after their children and not rely on everyone else to look out not to run them over, injure them on A ROAD / at a RIVER etc.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

And what will her sentence be? probably nothing. I hope the little one pulls through and this woman is put behind bars.

-11 ( +4 / -14 )

As a care giver, she should have some medical knowledge. Why would she attempt to move the child and risk injuring her more?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

why that 1 year old girl was on the road at 7 pm?

16 ( +16 / -0 )

If I were to give a percentage on negligence, I'll blame the father 85% and the driver 15% considering the fact that it was most likely dark around 7:00PM and the fact that she came back.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

At least she didn't drive off and try and forget about it.

10 ( +12 / -2 )

I have mixed feelings about this. While she is to blame for lying, as Matthew said, we need more info about why (and if) the toddler was on the road. In any case, a tragedy for all involved.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Why was a one year old in the road?

28 ( +30 / -2 )

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