National / Crime & Legal

Two killed, eight injured as man in his 80s drives into pedestrians in central Tokyo

Kyodo

A mother and daughter were killed and eight other people were injured Friday when an elderly driver ran over a group of pedestrians at a crosswalk in Tokyo’s Ikebukuro district, the police said.

The driver, 87, rammed the pedestrians at around 12:30 p.m. before careening off a garbage truck and hitting yet more people, the Metropolitan Police Department said.

Killed were Mana Matsunaga, 31, and her 3-year-old daughter Riko, who were pronounced dead at a hospital later in the day, the police said. In addition, eight people ranging in age from 40 to 90, including the driver and his wife, were injured, some seriously, they added.

The accident occurred near Higashi-Ikebukuro Station on the Yurakucho subway line.

“I saw a car hurtling through the pedestrian crossing I was about to cross, and after a loud noise, the people in front of me were hit by the car,” a male witness said. “It scares me that I might have been hit myself if I had been there a bit earlier.”

According to a police analysis of dashcam footage from the suspect’s car, the driver ignored two red lights before accelerating for about 150 meters. He then plowed into the crowd, crashed into the garbage truck and rolled, hitting more people, they said.

“The gas pedal got stuck for some reason,” the driver reportedly told investigators.

The driver is from Itabashi Ward but his name is being withheld for the time being. Though he was not taken into custody, the police are investigating the accident with a view to building a criminal case of reckless driving resulting in deaths.