Six people were killed and six injured in two similar traffic accidents on expressways in southwestern and northeastern Japan on Friday night and early Saturday, highway patrol officials said.

In both accidents, a truck hit a station wagon, killing three people and injuring three.

The first occurred around 8:35 p.m. Friday on the Kyushu Expressway in Kumamoto Prefecture. Shizuo Eguchi, 37, Jiro Tanaka, 41, and Toshiaki Shimozono, 33 were killed when they were thrown from a station wagon along with three others when a truck rear-ended their station wagon after it struck the left guardrail, police said.

The second accident took place around 12:30 a.m. Saturday on the Tohoku Expressway in Fukushima Prefecture. Three people, including a 7-month-old baby, were killed after a truck hit a station wagon, according to patrol police in Fukushima.

Three others in the station wagon were injured.

The six were identified as taxi driver Nobuo Sakai, 57, of Kawagoe, Saitama Prefecture, his wife, Shoko, and son Yuji, the son’s wife, Yukie, and their two children, Naoya, 2 and Nanako, 7 months. They were on their way to visit relatives in Yokote, Akita Prefecture, according to investigators.

Yuji, 33, and Yukie, 31, were killed almost instantly, and Nanako died after being taken to a nearby hospital.

Police were questioning the driver of the truck, Shinichi Kimura, 43, on suspicion of professional negligence resulting in death and injury.

As traffic clogged up on the Tohoku Expressway due to the accident, two other accidents involving nine vehicles occurred about 40 minutes later at a spot roughly 2 km away. Nine people were injured in these accidents, highway patrol police said.

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