9 passengers hospitalized after bus driver in eastern Japan “walked away” from traffic light


CHIBA – Nine passengers who were taking a bus in this eastern Japanese city were taken to hospital after the vehicle collided with a traffic light pole at an intersection in the early afternoon June 8.

The youngest of the group sent to the hospital was 5 years old, while the oldest was 80 years old. An elderly woman was treated for serious injuries, including a broken rib. None of those involved in the accident in Chiba, the capital of the prefecture of the same name, are believed to be in danger of death.

According to the Chiba Nishi Police Station, Junichi Takeuchi, 42, a bus driver and employee of the service operating company, was arrested at the scene on suspicion of negligent driving causing injuries. The bus line passes a shopping mall in the city’s Mihama district, and police say the incident itself happened at an intersection near the roundabout in front of JR Kaihimmakuhari Station.

While traveling along the city’s roads, the bus appears to have, for some reason, struck road sign equipment in the middle strip separating the road. Regarding the accident, Takeuchi is said to have said: “I don’t remember clearly, but I got out of the way.”

Bus service operator Chiba Kaihin Kotsu said no issues were found with Takeuchi’s health during this morning’s call before leaving the depot. Police are continuing their investigation for a more detailed cause.

(Japanese original by Tatsuya Naganuma, Chiba Office)

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