YOKOHAMA – A fatal collision on the Tomei Expressway in June appears to have stemmed from road rage, as a man arrested by police confessed to losing his temper in an argument and subsequently chasing the victims’ car, investigative sources said Thursday.
Kazuho Ishibashi, 25, was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of causing the June 5 accident in which Yoshihisa Hagiyama, 45, and his wife Yuka, 39, died on the expressway in Kanagawa Prefecture. Their two school-age daughters sustained minor injuries.
The Hagiyama family is from Shizuoka Prefecture.
Ishibashi allegedly blocked a lane of the expressway by stopping his car in front of the victims’ vehicle, which was then hit from behind by a large truck, police said. They suspect Ishibashi was upset after Hagiyama criticized him for the way he parked his car at an expressway rest area. The crash took place about 1.4 kilometers away from the Nakai parking area.
According to the police, Ishibashi followed Hagiyama’s vehicle, driven by Yuka, and tried to stop it multiple times before finally blocking its path in the passing lane.
Ishibashi is also suspected of grabbing Hagiyama by the chest and assaulting him in an attempt to drag him out of the vehicle, the police said.
The crash occurred as the vehicles were heading west on the expressway.
According to the sources, Ishibashi, a resident of Fukuoka Prefecture, has also blocked vehicles on three separate occasions in Shimonoseki, Yamaguchi Prefecture. On the night of May 8, he suddenly stopped his car on a road, blocked the path of another vehicle, and banged on the car’s window. In the early hours of May 9, he obstructed the path of another vehicle which tried to pass him and kicked the vehicle’s door. Later in the morning, he nudged another vehicle with his when it tried to overtake him.
Ishibashi was arrested on charges including negligent driving causing death or injury over the fatal accident, and the case was sent to prosecutors on Thursday.