A 56-year-old truck driver was sentenced to four years in prison Thursday for professional negligence for rear-ending a car on an expressway in Tokyo last November, killing two children and injuring five others.
The Tokyo District Court said Keiichi Taniwaki, from Nakatosa, Kochi Prefecture, was driving under the influence of alcohol when his 10-ton truck crashed into the car on the Tomei Expressway in Tokyo’s Setagaya Ward on the afternoon of Nov. 28.
The car burst into flames soon after impact. The accident killed two girls, aged 3 and 1. The court said Taniwaki had consumed more than 500 ml of “shochu” spirits and whiskey three hours before the accident.
Taniwaki’s habit of drinking while driving started long before the accident, it added.
“It is unimaginable the pain the two children suffered in the flames. (The defendant’s) negligence is extremely grave,” the judge said.
After the ruling, the parents of the girls said the sentence is too light for the loss the accident caused.
Truckers die in pileup
NAGOYA (Kyodo) Two drivers were killed in a five-truck pileup early Thursday on an expressway in Aichi Prefecture, police said.
Police were trying to identify the victims, whose bodies were found in their burned trucks on the Meishin Expressway in Bisai, near the border with Gifu Prefecture.
Three other drivers suffered slight injuries in the accident, which occurred around 2 a.m., police said.