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Dead student’s parents, friends demand new investigation

Date Posted: 2003-08-22

The traffic accident death of a 20-year-old Okinawan student in Kumamoto has left his parents and childhood friends second-guessing the decision of the Kumamoto Police not to indict the driver of the truck that crushed the young man to death.

The parents say police did not investigate the accident properly, and overly relied on the explanation of the truck driver alone. They have filed a petition with the Kumamoto prosecutors’ office to reopen the investigation. The dead man’s former classmates have also taken to the streets collecting signatures in support of the petition.

The parents swear they’ll the fight until they get to the bottom of the case. “We decided to fight with Kumamoto Police because they failed to conduct a proper investigation. They only took a statement from the driver and then set him free. That’s not fair to our son,” the father says.

According to a statement by a witness, the student had been waiting on a mini motorcycle for a traffic light to turn green. As the light turned green he had started turning to the right while a dump truck coming from the opposite direction suddenly swerved to the right, crashing into the motorcyclist. The witness estimated that the truck had traveled at least at 70 km/h.

When questioned, the truck driver explained the student had not seen him as he approached the intersection. In order to avoid the accident, he tried to steer to the right side of the minibike, but failed to avoid the collision. The driver maintained that the accident was completely the biker’s fault and that there had been nothing that he could have done to avoid the accident. The Kumamoto Police agreed, declared the case solved, and released the trucker.

The dead student’s father does not want any part of the police’s conclusion. “I want to know why the truck steered to the wrong side of the street as the witnesses state. I will not give up until that question has been answered,” the father says. The dead student’s classmates agree, and continue their campaign to collect signatures in support of a new investigation.

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