Truck Driver Gets 14 Years in Fatal Drunken Driving Crash

Society

Chiba, March 25 (Jiji Press)--A Japanese court sentenced Hiroshi Umezawa, a 61-year-old former truck driver, to 14 years in prison on Friday over a drunken driving incident near Tokyo that left two elementary schoolchildren dead and three other children severely injured last year.

Daisaku Kaneko, presiding judge at Chiba District Court, said Umezawa continued to drink before driving although being warned by bosses and clients that they smelled alcohol on his breath. Umezawa "made light of the danger of drunken driving and his attitude toward driving was the worst," the judge said.

Public prosecutors had sought a 15-year prison term for Umezawa, charged with dangerous driving resulting in death and injury.

Umezawa had pleaded guilty to driving under the influence of alcohol and plowing into a line of schoolchildren in the city of Yachimata in Chiba Prefecture on June 28 last year.

During his trial, it came to light that Umezawa used to drive under the influence of alcohol two or three times a week. Public prosecutors said that his habitual drunken driving led to "one of the worst ever cases of drunken driving" in the country.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press