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Nago traffic deaths concern officials

Date Posted: 1998-05-24

Four deaths over this weekend have prompted the Okinawa Prefecture to form a special committee to look into the high number of traffic fatalities which have plagued Nago City this year. In 1996, six people were killed in traffic accidents, but from January to May 20, there have already been seven deaths in Nago City. Officials are worried about the high jump and the committee will discuss ways to decrease the numbers and hopefully prevent future casualties.

This past Saturday, a father and his infant son were killed when their car drifted into oncoming traffic along Route 505. Hisataka Miyagi, 45, was driving his passenger van when a car in the opposite lane drifted in front of him and the two vehicles crashed head-on. Inside the car was Shigeya Kamiya, 27, and his 7 month old son.

According to the police investigation into the accident, Mr. Kamiya drove into the opposite lane and Mr. Miyagi had no time to stop before the collision. Investigators were unable to find skid marks from the car, and it is suspected Mr. Kamiya may have fallen asleep at the wheel. Both father and son were killed instantly and Mr. Miyagi sustained light scratches but no major injuries.

On Sunday, two classmates were killed when the motorcycle they were riding failed to respond to a turn. Takumi Fukumoto and Misato Hanashiro, both 17, were touring with four other friends along Hwy. 58 in Nago City when tragedy struck. The driver of the bike attempted to make a somewhat sharp turn and when the bike failed to respond, the motorcycle turned on its side and slid approximately 30 meters. Both teens were thrown from the bike and came to rest under a nearby car.

Both Misato and Takumi were killed instantaneously and police are investigating the accident. The driver of the vehicle was not injured.

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