Wheelchair rail death papers sent

Kyodo

Police on Wednesday sent to prosecutors their case against a Nankai Electric Railway Co. train driver, alleging he caused the death of a 75-year-old man in a wheelchair at a crossing in Takaishi, Osaka Prefecture.

The 41-year-old driver on the Nankai Main Line is accused of professional negligence. A case regarding the man in the electric wheelchair was also referred to prosecutors on suspicion he endangered traffic, according to the police.

The incident occurred on the afternoon of April 15.

The police said that they will not seek harsh punishment for either of the suspects. Regarding the train driver, they said the crossing was not equipped with an obstacle detection system. They also said they have evidence the 75-year-old man was trying to escape from the crossing when the accident occurred.

During questioning, the driver told the police that he applied the brakes, but it was too late to stop the train. Investigators were also told by witnesses that the man had kept trying to move the control of his electric wheelchair right up until he was struck by the train.

The street at the crossing is about 2 meters wide and the grade crossing stretches 9 meters. The crossing gate and security alarm were functioning at the time.