FUKUOKA – Three children were killed when the sport utility vehicle they were riding in plunged from a bridge into Hakata Bay in Fukuoka after it was rear-ended by a drunk driver Friday night.
Akio Ogami, a 33-year-old company employee, and his wife, Kaori, 29, escaped from the SUV, managing to pull out their son, Tomoaki, 3, and daughter, Saaya, 1, police said.
The two children later died despite medical aid given by rescuers.
Hiroaki, the couple’s 4-year-old son, never made it out of the vehicle. He was confirmed dead after the SUV was pulled out of the bay early Saturday, the police said.
The parents sustained slight injuries.
Futoshi Imabayashi, 22, the driver of the car that rear-ended the SUV, was arrested Saturday on suspicion of negligence resulting in the deaths of the children and injuries of their parents as well a violation of the Road Traffic Law.
Imabayashi, an employee of a Fukuoka municipal animal protection center, reportedly told police he had been drinking at a bar with a 19-year-old friend, who was also in the car, just before the accident.
Imabayashi’s car collided with the SUV at around 10:50 p.m., the police said. The impact pushed the SUV onto the sidewalk and sent it crashing through a 1-meter-high guardrail before it fell 14 meters into the bay.
Imabayashi allegedly tried to get away from the crash site, but his automobile only made it about 300 meters because of damage from the collision.
Police arrested him near the crash site.
They said they found no traces on the road indicating that he hit the brakes prior to impact.
Imabayashi reportedly said he wasn’t paying attention to the vehicle in front of him before the accident.
The Ogami family was on the way home from a park on the island of Shinakno-shima in Higashi Ward, Fukuoka, where they went to catch beetles.