KOBE – A woman and her 5-year-old son were killed when their vehicle was hit by a police car at an intersection in Tanba, Hyogo Prefecture, on Sunday.
The woman, 34, was identified as Tamba resident Asami Yura. Her two sons — Kanta, 5, and Yuzen, 3 — were also in the car, but the younger one survived with only minor injuries.
Tanba police are questioning the driver of the police car, patrolman Shinnosuke Sakabe, 39, who faces charges of negligent driving resulting in injury and death.
Police sources say visibility was good when Sakabe entered the intersection on a green light. They also quoted the officer as saying he failed to avoid the car — which approached from the left — and that he struck its right side at around 12:25 p.m.
The impact knocked Yura’s car on its side, and its roof smashed into traffic signal installation as it tipped over.
Police believe Kanta was in the passenger seat and his brother was in back.
The officer, who was reportedly heading to the police station at the end of his shift when the accident occurred, was not injured.
Tanba police Deputy Chief Kiyonori Furutsuka offered his sympathy to Yura’s family and said the police would investigate the incident.
Meanwhile, in Osaka’s Miyakojima Ward, a man was killed the same day after being hit by another patrol car while crossing the street.
The victim, described by the police as a man in his 60s, was transported to the hospital shortly after the accident occurred at around 8.40 p.m. but was pronounced dead. His identity has yet to be confirmed, police said.
The Joto police, who are investigating the case, said officers patrolling the area noticed a motorcycle several hundred meters ahead immediately before the accident that was traveling over the speed limit of 50 kph. As the officers sped up to chase it, they inadvertently hit the man at the crossing before turning on the car’s siren and red flashing light, they said.
According to several eyewitnesses, the light was red when the man crossed the street.