A Japanese court has sentenced a man to 14 years in prison for killing two elementary school children and leaving three others severely injured in a drunk-driving incident near Tokyo.
Hiroshi Umezawa, 61-year-old man was found guilty by the Chiba District Court of driving under the influence of alcohol.
His vehicle struck a group of pupils who were on their way home from school in June 2021 in a local area of Tokyo’s neighboring prefecture of Chiba.
Umezawa was condemned by prosecutors in the trial for what they described as “one of Japan’s worst-ever cases of drunk driving.
The prosecutors sought a 15-year prison sentence for the offender. The families of the victims also called for a hefty punishment.
Umezawa admitted to the charge of dangerous driving resulting in injuries or death.
He also offered his apologies to the bereaved families and those whose children had been seriously injured.
Two boys, aged seven and eight, respectively, were killed in the accident while two other boys and a girl were seriously injured.
The prosecutors said he consumed 220 milliliters of “shochu” liquor prior to causing the fatal accident.
Police said a breathalyzer test administered after the accident showed he was well over the legal limit for operating a vehicle.
The indictment stated that Umezawa consumed alcohol at a rest area on an expressway during workaround 3:00 p.m. local time on June 28, 2021.
He then drove on a street in Yachimata 30 minutes later where he fell asleep at the wheel and smashed into the group of school children.