National

Okayama pileup blamed on elderly driver leaves 9-year-old girl dead, four other school children injured

Kyodo

A 9-year-old girl died and four other schoolchildren were injured Tuesday following a multiple vehicle pileup caused by a 70-year-old driver in Okayama Prefecture, police said.

The crash involving five vehicles occurred at around 4 p.m. In the incident, a light truck hit a group of schoolchildren walking home after it was rear-ended by a car driven by Tomoko Shigemori, who was arrested on the spot on suspicion of causing the collision.

According to investigators, the woman’s car collided with a vehicle traveling in the opposite direction on a road in the city of Akaiwa before it hit the small truck, causing it to turn upside down and mount the sidewalk. Two other vehicles also collided.

The deceased girl was identified as Yui Fujiwara. One of the other four children — a 10-year-old boy — sustained serious injuries, police and firefighters said.

The children were among a group of third- to sixth-graders walking home together. They were not accompanied by parents or teachers, the school said.