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3-year-old girl dies after being hit by truck in restaurant parking lot

36 Comments

A three-year-old girl died after she was struck by a truck in a restaurant parking lot in Usa, Oita Prefecture, on Saturday night.

According to police, the incident occurred at around 9:30 p.m. at the restaurant located near an intersection along National Route 10, Sankei Shimbun reported. The girl, Koharu Murakami, had just finished dinner with four family members and had run out into the parking lot when she was hit by a light truck driven by a 71-year-old man.

Police said the child suffered extensive injuries and died in hospital about 90 minutes later.

The truck driver was quoted by police as saying he was on his way to go fishing when he decided to take a short cut and avoid the red light at the intersection by turning left into the restaurant parking lot. He told police he saw the child run out in front of him and applied the brake but couldn’t stop in time.

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36 Comments
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A shame but you don't let your young kids run out into a parking lot. Thats just looking for trouble.

10 ( +16 / -6 )

From what I read, this is not the driver's fault and he should not be arrested. Parking lots are not playgrounds and parents need to be extra vigilant in places like these. RIP, poor young girl.

2 ( +14 / -12 )

tragic but this is a good example of hewa boke in action. RIP little one.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

We don't know all the details, but parents/guardians allowing small children to run out into carparks is beyond negligent and bordering on child abuse.

Had an altercation with a mother and her 2 kids the other week in the super carpark.

I was reversing into my empty spot (beep, beep, beep warnings and reverse lights on) and only by a lucky glance did I see the 2 kids squeeze in behind me and the car parked next to me.

The mother was metres behind paying no attention. I said A-Bu-Nai at least 3 times while glaring at the kids and then the mother.

If I had hit one of the kids my life would be shot.

And it wasn't the first time. wtf is it with these people.

19 ( +20 / -1 )

What the hell were the parents thinking!? They have their own child’s blood on their hands. A three year old running in a parking lot. Absurd

5 ( +10 / -5 )

From what I read, this is not the driver's fault and he should not be arrested

In Japan, the driver is usually at fault. I doubt this will be any different. Obviously the parents should know better but drivers should also know better. People get out of cars in parking lots and so you have to be careful navigating them. This driver was cutting through the parking lot to avoid the light and was probably going too fast.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

@browny1 - I feel your frustration. Perhaps next time, instead of yelling “abunai” try yelling, “kodomo ga hikareta yo!”

5 ( +5 / -0 )

A combination of errors from adults results in the death of an innocent child.

The truck driver was of course barreling through the car park to beat the lights. However, a 3 year old kid shouldn’t have been running through a car park at 9:30pm.

dumb + dumber = death of a child

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Yep , if you somehow initiate a Jinshin-jiko (accident that causes injury to another) it's always gonna be your fault here, no matter what, even if the person jumps right in front of your car, as seems what happened here. It is irrelevant whether the driver was taking a short cut or not. He should never even have told the cops that.

Japanese road laws concerning accidents need to be reformed.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

The truck driver took a short cut in the restaurant parking lot...Crazy...

Of course he'll be blamed.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

From what I read, this is not the driver's fault and he should not be arrested. Parking lots are not playgrounds and parents need to be extra vigilant in places like these. RIP, poor young girl

The driver was being very reckless. Racing through a parking lot with the sole purpose of beating a red light. Reckless, pure and simple.

Yes, the parents should have been more careful, of course. But driver is 99.9% at fault here.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

@ Mocheake

My understanding is, in Japan it’s actually illegal to drive through parking lots to avoid red lights

And pedestrians always have the right of way.

That said, I agree – you should never let your young children run free where there are busy roads or parking lots.

Two separate sides equally at fault – one innocent victim dead.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

@Mocheake

Cutting through a parking lot to avoid a traffic is illegal. He is at fault. With that said. Parents are also responsible for letting such a small child run out into the parking lot at that time of night,,,RIP poor child.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

It always drove me crazy when I lived in Japan. Watching parents walk through parking lots with their toddlers trailing behind them. Seemed very common.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Drivers fault by admitting he decided to cut thru a parking lot to avoid an intersection. Parking lots aren't there as cut-thrus for lazy drivers.

Throw some blame to parents for not watching their 3 year old at 9:30pm when dark outside (wouldn't matter if middle of day), as though their child is immortal.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Why is a 3 year old awake at 2130?

0 ( +5 / -5 )

@Mirai Hayashi

Thanks! Didn't know cutting through a carpark is illegal. Learn something every day on JT.

Question though: in Japan, whose fault is it if somebody darts out in front of your vehicle and you unavoidably kill them?

My understanding is it is always determined as being 100% the fault of the driver. Ditto for car vs bicycle and the cyclist dies.

That sounds absurd to me.

Can somebody correct me if I am wrong?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

ALmostToday  08:03 pm JST

From what I read, this is not the driver's fault and he should not be arrested. Parking lots are not playgrounds and parents need to be extra vigilant in places like these. RIP, poor young girl

The driver was being very reckless. Racing through a parking lot with the sole purpose of beating a red light. Reckless, pure and simple.

Yes, the parents should have been more careful, of course. But driver is 99.9% at fault here.

Doesn't say he was racing or trying to beat the light.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

@Tora, I would say that if you are doing something you are not supposed to be doing, then yes it will be your fault. I am from originally from Oregon in the US and cutting through a parking lot as a short cut is illegal there as well. Each state in the US has different driving laws, so I can't speak for all the US. Anyway, I am glad it is not allowed here. Parking lots are not thoroughfares.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

When I read the headline it just popped to my mind that commenters would criticise the father or mother that let the kid walking in a parking.

Unfortunately I have not been surprised with just the first one (@pointofview).

It is very well known that any parent will leave their kids wandering voluntarily in a parking lot to check if they can survive.

No need to read further.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

It is illegal but not as enforced as cell phones while driving, not stopping at train crossings, speed and seat belts. A lot of restaurants on corners do put up signs not to do shortcuts.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The driver is at fault as he was using the parking lot as a road to bypass the red light. This is illegal in japan if I recall correctly.

As for not watching the kid, it says she ran out into the parking lot. Sounds like something kids do. Which is one of the reasons using a parking lot like a road is illegal.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Parking lots are for #1. PARKING your car and #2. getting out of car and WALKING to your destination. People of ALL ages use these facilities. These lots are NOT made for speeding through. AND, when driving in a parking lot drivers must be EXTRA cautious because...people ARE walking TO and FROM their cars. AND just because it's 9:30pm doesn't mean drivers have free reign to dart through carelessly assuming that children are at home/in bed. Defending the driver in this case just doesn't sound or feel right.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

This is about as tragic an accident as could be imagined for everyone involved. Was taking a shortcut through a parking lot the smartest idea ever? No. But I guarantee everyone on this site has done it. Should the parents maybe have kept a better grip on their child? Maybe. I can’t say what their circumstances were, but I have a 4 year old nephew and I can say with certainty that he can and has bolted before and gotten quite a bit of distance in the blink of an eye.

I’m sure the elderly driver feels horrible about what happened and I know the parents must be devastated. Unlike some people here, I don’t agree at criminal charges are warranted in this case. This was an accident, nothing more, and to heap charges into either a traumatized driver or a grieving family reeks of nothing but overreaction.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

The truck driver was of course barreling through the car park to beat the lights.

We do not know if he was "barreling" through. A K-truck does not sound like a sports car to me. From where I sit, a 3-year old should never be allowed to run alone in a restaurant parking lot. I blame the parents. Alas, this story is so typical.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Combination of parents allowing their kid to run around in a car park and a selfish driver

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Yep , if you somehow initiate a Jinshin-jiko (accident that causes injury to another) it's always gonna be your fault here, no matter what...

Yes, quite a sad and lazy approach to finding who was at fault. Because of this we have the occasional crazy who tries to deliberately walk/ride in front of oncoming cars in order to blackmail the driver scam (I had an old guy try to do it to me in Kyoto once, but he underestimated how fast I was on the brakes).

Its also a factor in the high rate of hit-and-runs here...

RIP little girl.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

We do not know if he was "barreling" through. A K-truck does not sound like a sports car to me. From where I sit, a 3-year old should never be allowed to run alone in a restaurant parking lot. I blame the parents. Alas, this story is so typical.

What's wrong with you guys? I mean seriously ?

We do not know if he was "barreling" through? What does it mater ? what do you nor understand in the word ILLEGAL, it is illegal to go through a parking lot to avoid traffic light as it is to ignore a red light, end of discussion.

Do you understand that you're saying that if someone ignore a red light it's ok as long as he is not speeding?

Geez, think before writing.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

How many of y'all "parent-bashing" actually have kids, much less four?

The parents will replay this in their head for the rest of their lives. It's a terrible tragedy and a parent's worst nightmare.

Yes, they are negligent. I'm sure they know this. But, it's impossible to always keep an eye on your kids.

The old man is negligent, too. He couldn't wait a minute at a traffic light? Is it legal in Japan to cut through parking lots?

I'm sure he feels terrible, too.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I agree with commenters that the driver by admission, says he was taking a short cut thru a car park which is a no, no. He must bear responsibility for that act.

But the parents through their negligence allowed their child to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

It's no good to say after the fact that it is the drivers fault according to law, because the sad reality is the little girl is dead.

Better to err on the side of caution, even if the other party was a big contributor.

Being right - or partially right - and dead, brings no joy at all.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

when my kid was that age I can not remember keeping him out past 9:30pm let alone letting him run outside alone. Great parenting

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@openminded,

Yes. Unfortunately, bad things can happen when parents don't watch their kids properly. Who's in charge...kids or parents?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Poor old dude - this will ruin his twilight years.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The girl, Koharu Murakami, had just finished dinner with four family members and had run out into the parking lot when she was hit by a light truck driven by a 71-year-old man.

He told police he saw the child run out in front of him and applied the brake but couldn’t stop in time.

The police should take into consideration an equation in this situation which resulted in her death besides negligence on her parents behalf : speed plus distance plus time

The speed he was going at

The distance the girl was to his truck

The reaction time he had to apply brakes

Weather or not he took a shortcut to avoid a traffic light, a 3 year old shouldn't be running around freely in a parking lot where vehicles come and go at anytime.

My son never gets out of his child seat in a parking lot unless we are standing by the back car door and give him the ok. Once out, he immediately holds our hand. Teach your children well.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

so sad I hope there's a heaven for her

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I guarantee everyone on this site has done it.

Speak for yourself. This has ALWAYS been a pet peeve of mine; people cutting through parking lots. This is exactly why it is illegal - because parking lots are for parking, not for driving. When you use it like a road, people get killed. This girl is dead because some guy decided that it was more important for him to drive dangerously and illegally to save a few seconds, than to wait for the red light. It's not a bad-luck act-of-god, it's someone using a parking lot like a road, which led to the death of someone else using the parking lot like a parking lot.

Don't get me wrong - I feel for the guy. I'm sure that would he have known this would happen, he would have waited for the light every time.

But that's why you do that stuff before you kill someone, after.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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