15-year-old boy in hospital after being hit by 62-year-old drunk driver in Gunma

GUNMA —

A 15-year-old boy was in critical condition in hospital in Sunday after being hit by a car outside the main entrance to his high school in Takasaki City in the early hours of the morning.

Police said the boy was with about 10 classmates fixing decorations put up for their school festival held over the weekend, when he was hit by a car at around 1 a.m. as he was standing in the middle of the road to check the decorated gate. The driver of the vehicle and his female passenger got out of the car to check on the boy, but got back in the car and drove off. The boy suffered a heavy blow to his head and was still in critical condition later on Sunday, police said.

Yuji Takimato, a 62-year-old self-employed man, was arrested at his Annaka City home at around 7 a.m. Sunday for negligent driving resulting in injury and for fleeing the scene of an accident, after his wife called police telling them her husband had hit someone with his car. Takimoto admitted to hitting the boy and said he fled the scene as he was scared of getting caught for driving under the influence of alcohol.

News reports

  • 0

    nimbus

    School function at 1 am for a 15 year old?

  • 0

    saborichan

    Absolutely unacceptable that the students should be at school after hours for any reason at all. I understand that he might be a very committed student but that just invites trouble.

    And as for the a--hole driver, he deserves every punishment he gets.

  • 0

    Disillusioned

    he fled the scene as he was scared of getting caught for driving under the influence of alcohol.

    It should come as no surprise that ethics is not a subject in Japanese high schools or universities. Obviously, the cops scare campaign is working (in a Japanese way). People are scared of being charged, but have no fear of getting caught in the act. I hope the kid recovers and receives this old fool's pension for the rest of his life.

  • 0

    bushlover

    The boy was standing in the middle of the road at 1 AM and couldn't see or hear a car coming? At 1 AM I'm sure the lights were on. Plain stupidity. And the driver stopped but after confirming he hurt someone he left the scene and didn't call for any help at all? Plain stupidity again. This country really makes me shake my head sometimes.

  • 0

    shakakhan

    trains...why would anybody drive drunk here...trains....so sad!

  • 0

    Samuraiiki

    If you have not learned it by now, here is rule number 1: If it come to the point that you drink and drive, then alcohol has definitely become your master. Either quit drinking, or learn how to plan for drinking without driving. Running away makes it even worse. No kid deserves such a fate.

  • 0

    spudman

    1am there are no trains. Takasaki only one line that stops at 10:30

  • 0

    Mittsu

    A number of J-features. Boy at school at 1 am. Standing in the middle of the road. Old geezer can't drive - even though drunk.

  • 0

    soldave

    1am... and the thing is most people in Japan won't even bat an eyelid about that part of the story.

  • 0

    buggerlugs

    I hate to say this cause I hate drink drivers, but the laws in japan would mean that even if this old fool wasn't drunk he would still be paying for the rest of his life. it is this I believe that contributes to so many hit and runs... the old fool is 99.9% to blame, the parents and school are also responsible. What kind of 15 year stands in the road at 1am?? Was he in the typical dark colours?

  • 0

    Smythe

    Can understand the strang hours of the student as it was part of their volunteer work at the school.

    Unfortunately FAR TO MANY are under the impression tha driving a car while one has been drinking is perfectly correct. Unfortunately your concentration on the traffic to whatever is simply not up to par that is needed.

    Worse off he panicked big time to make it a HIT & RUN. His wife feeling so guiltly was the one to phone the police. Far, far to late & the husband is not going to get off in any tests of liquor at a later date.

    He never thought of the injuries to the student, to the injuries he might have caused to where the student or anyone, though his errors in driving while drunk, could be injured for life or bed ridden case to actual death of just not one but several in possibly another car.

  • 0

    tasha77

    1am at school???? And the parents agreed???? And the teachers allowed it????

  • 0

    Zybster

    I often hear of kids preparing for the school festival, sometimes staying overnight at school. This is remembered as cool times, something they did together. The parents have done is as well, they would have no problems with it. The boy may have been careless to stand in the middle of the road and not notice an approaching car. He should have been more careful. As for hit and run, I can find no excuse.

  • 0

    fatfrenchfool

    will nobody defend this poor driver? how come no-one tells it likeitis anymore?

  • 0

    hoserfella

    I was wondering that myself, fatfrenchfool. Its been weeks since people have been telling it likeitis about criminals like this drunk-driver.

  • 0

    ppayne

    Big shock on this. I was at the school festival the following day. Kimi ga warui...

  • 0

    Lamborghini

    Yes another shining example of a Japanese law abiding citizen. This Yuji Takimato needs to have his license removed and be jailed for the next 20 years, there are too many drunk drivers here in Japan and too many hit and runs, I have been hit twice in 6 years and both times the scum have fled the scene and the police have NEVER found the drivers even though I handed them the license plate numbers and makes of the cars. The punishment for drivers here in Japan that break the law needs to be made stronger because at the moment it is a JOKE!

  • 0

    kirakira25

    Without even going there on the drunk driver thing who deserves everything he gets (not that he'll actually get very much) - I understand people are saying "this is Japan" but honestly - 1am? 15 years old? I get it is a school event but when is child safety ever going to be a factor in these schools? I have an ongoing battle because I won't let my 6 year old walk to school alone, and all I get is "this is how it is in Japan". One word everyone - CHANGE. The Japan of the 70's is not the Japan of today.

  • 0

    outofmydepth

    kirakira25 - child safety is never going to be number one on anyone`s list in the japanese system. had same battle. with the birthrate so low they need all the children that are out there but the children are left to their own devices. it is so sad, really.

  • 0

    womanforwomen

    Haven't you heard that a 15 year old is not a child anymore in Japan? Someone even told me that at 15, according to the Japanese system of child rearing, the father will teach him how to take care of women. So I am not surprised that this 15 year old boy in the news was helping out at the school in the middle of the night. How about the school authorities supervision?

  • 0

    SweenyTodd

    I hope he recovers, and learns to open his eyes and ears and how to check the road before jumping into the middle of it in the middle of the night while wearing dark clothes. Was he drunk too? Or just high on life?

    Drunk driver? I don't know how much he drank. But everybody knows that after just one beer you are liable to poke out your own eye just brushing your teeth! Ridiculous! I doubt his wife even noticed our young fool standing still in the road. But I should not upset anybodies PC brain wiring by suggesting there might be more to this than car+alchohol=accident. Seems to be all the factors most human brains can handle these days!

  • 0

    cody7799

    @ SweenyTodd - The boy wasn't drunk. He was out preparing for a school festival the next day. As it says in the article, he'd gone out into the road to admire the handiwork on the gate. The boy was probably tired, giving probable cause for moving into the street. That, or the drunk driver hadn't been within view when he did go into the street. He could've come around a corner or something. I blame the fact people get drunk and drive. As it's been said here, taxi's are abundant. Use them. For god sake, it's horrible to see something like this happen, but it does. And will if it's not cut back on.

    @ people saying that the child was out to his own devices - He was FIFTEEN. Note that it's been said here, that's an age where their being trained to take care of women. Note the fact that fifteen is old enough for decent judgment. And also take note that a fifteen year old couldn't legally get drunk. And considering the fact that he was out that late helping for a festival, I doubt he would've gone through illegal methods to obtain alcohol. He seems like an upstanding student.

    @ Womanforwomen - I agree on the supervision note. You'd think that there'd have been an adult of some sort who works for the school there. But since it was not the case, I'd think the school should take even a shred or responsibility.

    Also, what kind of school has people prepping for a festival at midnight? Is this another common thing in Japan, or did the student team in charge simply leave everything 'last-minute'? There's so many factors involved with this incident it isn't funny. Always remember that not everything is what it seems, while most things usually are as they come across.

    -Cody

  • 0

    cody7799

    And one final note @ Smythe - The man had ADMITTED to driving under the influence. If he hadn't done so, it would've been a standard Hit & Run. That, or his wife would've pointed it out.

  • 0

    SweenyTodd

    cody7799: The boy wasn't drunk.

    You weren't there. The article does not say he wasn't. So we don't know. But it would go a long way in explaining how an apparently healthy 15 year old managed to fail to see or hear a car coming, you know, while standing in a place where even little kids know to stay alert.

    Whether the driver was ripped out of his gourd or just a little tipsy, it does not change the fact the boy could easily have saved himself. Even your explanations don't account for the fact that cars are not cats that suddenly pounce on you from out of nowhere. You have to be more crippled than just tired not to be able to get out the way. Its just a few steps to safety. I think this kid was impaired upstairs to allow himself to get hit.

    Also, what kind of school has people prepping for a festival at midnight?

    The kind of school that is in a country that is still pretty safe to do such a thing. There used to be a day when being at out night was pretty common and safe, even for teenagers, just about anywhere. It still is here, even though sometimes stuff happens. Stuff happens in broad daylight too you know. I hope the school will go on as they were. Had this kid been just a little brighter, the drunk driver would have just passed by without incident. Honestly, I think a sober driver probably could have hit him too. He really must not have been paying any attention at all to get hit by a car like this.

    He seems like an upstanding student.

    How do you arrive at that conclusion?

  • 0

    Sarge

    62 years old, and he still hadn't learned not to drink and drive. Incredible...

  • 0

    fatfrenchfool

    SweenyTodd seems to be telling it likeitis

  • 0

    cody7799

    @ Sweenytodd - I arrived at the conclusion that he was an upstanding student by looking at the circumstance. He was working on something out in the middle of the night for school. As for the car, I was saying he could've been moving at excessive speed, or come around a corner beside the school. I do not say from "no-where" anywhere in my statement. As fusedentropy said, the "Deer in the Headlights" effect could've also taken place. Fatigue may not cause inability to get out of the way, but it would cause someone to react in that effect if an oncoming car's lights came upon the person. He also could've fallen asleep in the street, or been looking the opposite direction. If the vehicle were quiet or if he'd fallen asleep, he wouldn't have been able to react. Now I understand that the sleeping is far-fetched, but think about it. I know a person or two who's fallen asleep while standing before. It does happen. As does this. Circumstancial evidence is what you need to look at along with the real stuff. Make notice on what you can.

  • 0

    Fadamor

    Fusedentropy,

    So we're supposed to understand that Japanese culture says it is perfectly fine to stand in the middle of a road at night because of how "safe" Japan is? If I were you, I'd be careful about throwing rocks when you live in a glass house.

    1. the kid was a moron for standing in the road regardless of what time of day or night it was.
    2. the driver was a moron for driving after drinking.
    3. the driver compounded his stupidity by fleeing the scene rather than making sure the kid got medical assistance.
  • 0

    outofmydepth

    fusendentropy - parents who let their children (yes children - 15 is still a child) stay out til all hours of the night are morons - japanese or any other culture you want to name. this crap about japanese culture is just that, crap. japan is not and has not been safe for children for a long time but no one has told them. and supervision at schools is spotty at best. i know, i have a kid in high school. you probably dont have kids, or if you do, you dont know or care where he/she is in the middle of the night.

  • 0

    Molenir

    I agree with Fadamor. The kid was an idiot for standing in the middle of the road. Did no one teach the kid basic traffic safety? If there are cars around, if you stand in the middle of the road, there is a chance you might get hit. Really, how hard is this to understand?

    The driver was obviously an idiot as well. Don't drink and drive. How hard is this to understand. How many other ways of getting home are there? If you choose to drink, plan to make use of them. I hope the kid is alright, and I feel sorry for the guy. Knowing how harsh Japan is on Drunks, the guy is probably going away for the rest of his life.

  • 0

    fatfrenchfool

    Gaijin usually criticize what is different from their way of thinking - as if your way is the only way.

    Japanese also do this. don't criticise before you understand Japan.

  • 0

    SweenyTodd

    fusedentropy: Actually, you're taking some liberty at suggesting the boy had a means of escape - Unless you know something I don't. Streets in Japan can be pretty narrow and with curves in them. So, it may not be that unbelievable that we wasn't able to get out of the way

    If 99.9 percent of the time a matador can get out of the way of bull that suddenly charges, I firmly believe that any human with any sense and functioning legs can get out of the way of a single car steadily coming down the road 99.9 percent of the time. It is remotely possible that the school gate was closed and the road in front had no sidewalk with walls on either side and was so narrow that there was space for only one car and nothing else. Its also possible that the walled off narrow road was curved to the point that you could not see a car coming or its headlights and lets say it was a hybrid car so it was quiet too. Add to that the idea that the car was traveling really fast and darn steady between those narrow walls despite the driver being drunk.

    Possible? Remotely. So remotely I don't think its even worth talking about. A pedestrian has all the advantages. Getting out of the way of a car is dead simple unless it is swerving and weaving or careening out of control and going off the road. And almost always there is a place for a pedestrian to go. Cars are easy to see, hear, and their courses are highly predictable. Pedestrians start and stop on a dime, and with two strides can clear one lane. There is no excuse for getting yourself hit by a car except being blind and deaf too. Dumb does not qualify as an excuse unless you are like seven years old.

    • also you got the deer in the headlight reaction too.

    That would be dumb. And at 15, not an excuse I would accept.

    Gaijin usually criticize what is different from their way of thinking - as if your way is the only way.

    Lots of people do that, not only gaijin. But its a fair statement all the same. We all know that all if not most posters here a gaijin, and they do just that.

  • 0

    HokeyPokey

    Apparently the boy was staying at the school for the weekend. So the parents are not to blame for him being out so late.

  • 0

    SweenyTodd

    What to say about the drunk driver? Not much we can say about him really because we know even less about his situation. How drunk was he? Maybe his wife can tell us? We can say he is a jerk for running, that is for sure. But we can also blame the government for that. Their policies ensure that large numbers of people run. People can and do drive just fine after drinking up to certain limits. It may not be popular, but its the truth.

    The old rules of having alcohol limits made far more sense. Instead of changing those, they should have made sure that drivers don't get punished if a pedestrian is the one at fault, and usually, they are. Not speeding helps. Not drinking helps. Being aware helps. But ultimately, its pedestrians that recklessly blunder into the way of cars, and drivers are made to suffer for it, and suffer a lot.

    So now you get this double whammy. You get punished even if the pedestrian was the truly reckless one. You get it even worse even if you were drinking within your limits (not saying this guy was. Maybe he wasn't). Double your unfair whammies and double your runners. Its not good for anyone except maybe the amount of fines the government can collect. Yet, people will support it tooth and nail, just because its popular to do so. Government add campaigns have had their effect on small minds. People don't care so long as its not them being squeezed but someone else. Your turn may come. Plenty of reckless pedestrians in this country so good luck out there. And stay away from those whiskey chocolates!

  • 0

    outofmydepth

    fusedentropy. i am talking about japan where i live - where i have a child in a japanese high school. where i drive (never drunk). where i do my shopping. where i work. do you think i am talking about something i don`t experience daily? i am not attacking you. i am giving facts as i know them. (and i live the next town over from this "happening")

  • 0

    elbudamexicano

    What the hell was this 15 year old boy doing out at 1 am???? Is this a mistake?? Why would any decent parents let their kids be out at 1 am? They can be hit or killed by idiot drunk drivers like this drunken fool 62 looser in Gunma. Both are idiots, I hope this boy learns a lesson and that his idiot parents also learn a good lesson. It should be illegal for under age kids to be out after 10 pm, let alone 1 in the morning????

  • 0

    SweenyTodd

    Why would any decent parents let their kids be out at 1 am?

    Because decent parents are not jailors. Because Japan is not as dangerous as Colombia.

    I will bet you have no recollection of any other teen in Japan getting hit by a car so late at night. Yet here you are going on about idiots and decency and how it should be illegal to let teenagers out after 10. Reactionary. Keeping youth in a box only teaches them what the inside of a box looks like. I had the run of the town at all hours at 15. I learned a lot. I enjyed life. Consider those.

  • 0

    goodDonkey

    saborichan said:

    Absolutely unacceptable that the students should be at school after hours for any reason at all. I understand that he might be a very committed student but that just invites trouble.

    Could you try to be a little more of a control freak. If parents want to permit there kids to be at a school in the middle of the night it is nobody's business but the school's and the parents. Getting home unescorted or allowing kids to stand in the middle of the street is a different matter altogether. I don't know the story so I will refrain from accusations directed at the victim or those surrounding the victim.

    This was no ordinary road. The article clearly stated:

    ...after being hit by a car outside the main entrance to his high school ...

    I was often at late night events when I was 15. It helped build character. Many events I attended were a church function. I was always careful about cars at night. I still am. Again we hear the voices of those who did not grow up in the same manner condemn those who choose a different, unconventional path. In my opinion the drunk was driving toward an entrance where he had no business being. I only know of schools that have roads where you are required to proceed with caution at much lower speeds. Maybe I am mistaken but a main entrance to a high school should be a protected zone. I wish the kid had been more fearful of vehicles but blaming the kid seems preposterous. I do believe there might have been better supervision. Kids do dumb stuff; adults need to be there to protect them. I am 50 years old now and my parents did nothing wrong by allowing me to have fun in the middle of the night when I was a teen. That is what freedom is. My parents had the freedom to make decisions about my whereabouts.

    I don't drink alcohol so I won't be "drunk driving" any time soon. I don't have any problem with people drinking to their hearts content. Most of the people I know are not only responsible drinkers but also promote responsibility to others.

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