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91-yr-old man, driving wrong way on expressway, dies after collision

24 Comments

A 91-year-old man died on Monday after he made a U-turn on the Metropolitan Expressway and collided with an oncoming car after driving the wrong way for about 1.3 kilometers.

Police said Yoshikazu Sase, a resident of Chiba City, was heading toward Tokyo on the No. 7 Komatsugawa Route in Koto Ward at about 6.15 p.m. when he made a U-turn shortly after passing through the Kinshicho toll gate. He then drove back through the gate before colliding with an oncoming car.

Sase was taken to hospital but was pronounced dead about two hours later. The 35-year-old male driver of the other car was slightly injured, but his wife and 5-year-old son were seriously injured and are receiving treatment in hospital.

Police are continuing their investigation into the accident and will refer Sase to the Public Prosecutor's Office for negligent vehicular assault.

© News reports

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24 Comments
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I bet the 5 year old was on the mother's lap and not wearing a seat belt.

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I was once driving along a 2-lane road on my scooter, and suddenly realised a car was heading straight towards me, an elderly man with a fixed expression driving. He looked blind. I swerved out of his way - scared the bejeesus out of me. (he was on the wrong side btw) What's a 91-year-old doing driving a car anyway?

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goddog, my thoughts exactly. Safety belts and child seats would have kept the whole family out of the hospital.

And what exactly are the police going to do with this case? go after the old man's family?

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Why was a 91 year old driving at all? There needs to be a competency test invoked for all senior drivers and it needs to be done every three months. Now, this geazer has ruined the lives of this family. I hope the kid gets well quickly and is not permanently disabled as a result of this irresponsible act.

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Have it so that seniors need to have GPS-based monitoring in their vehicles to monitor their skills. Too much variance and revoke their licenses. No periodic testing necessary.

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Come on, 91? If I live that long, I surely hope I have enough sense to hand in my drivers license.

Thats just ridiculous. Nature has set us limits, we should accept that.

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how was he able to drive back through the toll gate in the wrong direction?? beyond me... anyway, he had it coming his way, sort of

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91? Damn. That old dude probably didn't even know where he was.

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Safety belts and child seats would have kept the whole family out of the hospital.

Now come on, we don't know what happened in the accident. If this guy caved in the whole side of their car they could have been wearing safety belts and still been badly injured. This innocent family didn't cause the accident and there's nothing said about them not wearing safety belts, so why assume they weren't?

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They now do ninchishou (dementia) testing on the elderly at the licensing center, and have been for 2-3 years now, but the law has no teeth, they can only 'counsel' them not to drive. At the center of the debate is who has the authority to take away the legal right to drive. This is a relatively new problem for Japan, the last generation of seniors (my husband's grandparents) weren't drivers, for the most part. Now we have this huge population of elderly driving, and many are getting dementia.

In the US not all states have a system yet, but in many, doctors notify the DMV of a dementia diagnosis and the afflicted elderly are refused a license at the next test. Until then it's up to the family to keep them from driving...no easy task with a family member who swears they're fine, a mid-stage symptom called 'agnosia' the inability to tell that you have a cognitive deficit. We took away MILs car forcibly when she had an accident--took the car and sold it the next week. On top of dementia she's pretty headstrong, we decided to just do it, and live with the consequences...she nagged for A YEAR AND A HALF daily, 4-5 phone calls a day, screaming about not having a car. Hell to go through, but better than her killing someone.

If your loved one is far enough along, you can get rid of the car, and keep saying 'it's in the shop', or get a device that allows you to disconnect the battery with a switch. MIL was dangerous behind the wheel (I can't begin to describe it) but active enough that she'd call a mechanic , so we could not do it an easier way. She actually got her next license without our knowing, she said I was busy so a friend took her!

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Wow, 91 and maybe his first and surely last accident. There are 20-40 year olds out their now on their third or fourth accidents, but we focus on his age and no one mentioned his prior driving record. In most cases the elderly are much more cautious drivers than we are. My dad drove his car until he was 89, but turn the keys in one day when he said he had no desire to drive again. He never had an accident where he was at fault. Just saying...

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maybe his first and surely last accident

I'm pretty sure you can safely upgrade 'surely' to 'definately' because he's dead!

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91? And this surprises you? A 91 year old driving is like a punk teenage gangster walking with a loaded gun.

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Police are continuing their investigation into the accident and will refer Sase to the Public Prosecutor’s Office for negligent vehicular assault.

Um... Sase is dead, and the cops are going to charge him with assault...

Brilliant. Of course the guy is at fault, but it seems silly. Hopefully, the poor guy that got hurt along with his family will not be asked to pay for any of the damages and get a 0% / 100% ruling in their favor.

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I'm pretty sure you can safely upgrade 'surely' to 'definately' because he's dead!

I read it as you did and figured out he was indeed dead. OBTW the Thesaurus definition of surely is "Adv. 1. surely - definitely or positively," no need to upgrade. Sorry you misunderstood.

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Damn! Im on this stretch of road all the time with my kids (who by the way are always in their safety seats). I agree that the chances are the kid wasnt in a proper child seat, I see it all the time. But c`mon, that really is not the point here. Something needs to be done urgently if the law allows people like this to still be driving.

Then again, a lot of things need to be addressed urgently here...

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Police are continuing their investigation into the accident and will refer Sase to the Public Prosecutor’s Office for negligent vehicular assault.

If he's dead, how will they manage they do that?

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If he's dead, how will they manage they do that?

Charging him postumously will allow the family to seek full compensation from the old git's insurance company.

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Charging him postumously will allow the family to seek full compensation from the old git's insurance company.

It seems a bit harsh, adding insult to injury. If he's at fault, let the insurance companies know and let the grieving family grieve.

I can just see the police showing up to the guy's funeral... "Uh... we're here to charge this guy..."

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They need to a) stop allowing old people to drive and b) enforce seatbelt rules. The amoutn of students parents I see her with Taro bouncing around in the back (or front) seat makes me want to scream.

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I don't know but referring Sase to the Public Prosecutor for negligent vehicular homicide just sounds wrong. The old man was going the wrong way.

I'll drive in Japan that's for sure!

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meant "I'll NEVER drive in Japan..."

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What the jcops gonna do arrest the 91 year old dead man and take him to jail. This is a no-brainer.

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Investigation is required not only for insurance claims. How was he able to re-enter a toll gate in the opposite direction. Did he just charge through?

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