Minivan runs over group of pedestrians in Japan, killing 7

April 13th, 2012 - 12:35 am ICT by BNO News  

KYOTO, JAPAN (BNO NEWS) — Seven people were killed on early Thursday afternoon when a minivan ran over a group of pedestrians in the Japanese city of Kyoto, police said. The driver of the vehicle was also killed.

The incident occurred at around 1 p.m. local time when the minivan rear-ended a taxi and crossed the red traffic light at the intersection of Shijo and Yamato Ooji streets in Kyoto’s historic district of Gion. The vehicle ran over sixteen people before crashing into a telephone pole and coming to a stop.

Police told the Kyodo news agency that seven pedestrians between the ages of 40 and 77 were killed while nine others were injured. The driver of the minivan, who was identified as 30-year-old delivery man Shingo Fujisaki of Kyoto’s Nishikyo Ward, was also killed in the accident.

Family members told the media outlet that Fujisaki had previously suffered from epilepsy, but police are considering the incident as possible negligent driving resulting in death and injury. Investigations are also pending an autopsy of the driver to reveal the cause of his death and his mental condition at the time of the accident.

Thursday’s accident occurred only some 50 meters (165 feet) from the Minamiza Kabuki Theater. The area is a popular touristic site where thousands of people have gathered to see the city’s ancient cherry blossoms, which are currently in full bloom.

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