National / Crime & Legal

Hitomi Yoshizawa, former member of idol group Morning Musume, held over alleged DUI hit and run

Kyodo

Hitomi Yoshizawa, a former member of the well-known all-girl idol group Morning Musume, was sent to prosecutors Friday after being arrested Thursday for injuring two people while driving under the influence of alcohol in an alleged hit-and-run incident, investigative sources said.

Yoshizawa, 33, ran a red light at around 7 a.m. in Nakano Ward, Tokyo, and hit a bicyclist in her 20s and a male pedestrian in his 40s. She left the scene without reporting the incident, according to the sources.

After about 15 minutes Yoshizawa called the police and reported that she’d hit a bicycle with her car, and returned to the scene, the sources said. The police questioned her, and a breath test showed she had a blood-alcohol level beyond the legal limit.

She was quoted by the sources as telling the police, “I couldn’t stop because traffic was busy at the site.”

A 14-year-old junior high school student who witnessed the accident on her way to school said, “The car did not seem to apply the brakes. I was surprised as a bicycle was thrown several meters and the car drove away.”

Yoshizawa made her debut as a member of Morning Musume in 2000 and served as a PR ambassador for her hometown — Miyoshi in Saitama Prefecture — after leaving the idol group in 2007.

Last September, Yoshizawa was involved in another traffic accident in which the car she was driving collided with another vehicle.

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