• Kyodo

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A man driving a stolen vehicle escaped police pursuit for about 30 km Saturday night in Shiga Prefecture and injured five people in the process, police said Sunday.

Officers spotted the stolen vehicle at a checkpoint on a national highway in Tsuchiyama shortly after 9 p.m. Saturday and tried to stop it, but the driver bolted, police said.

A police sergeant spotted the vehicle about 15 minutes later in Kosei, some 15 km away, and but it ran over his toes when he tried to stop it. The 41-year-old sergeant sustained injuries that will require two months to heal.

The man drove the vehicle another 15 km, running into nine autos and slightly injuring four civilians, including a 1-year-old girl and 7-year-old boy, police said.

The vehicle ran into a residential fence in Kusatsu, and the driver got away on foot.

A 19-year-old woman remained in the vehicle after the man abandoned it. She told police she was acquainted with the suspect.

Police launched a search for the man, who is suspected of theft, causing injuries and obstructing police officers from performing their duties. The suspect was reported to be around 160 cm tall and slightly overweight.

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