FUKUOKA (TR) – Fukuoka Prefectural Police have arrested a Ground Self-Defense Force (GSDF) member who crashed his car into another vehicle in Koga City last year during a high-speed chase by law enforcement, reports the Mainichi Shimbun (Jan. 5).
At around 11:00 p.m. on November 6, the white car driven by Yutaro Yano, 26, crossed the center median on National Route 3 and collided with an oncoming vehicle.
According to the Kasuya Police Station, Yano’s vehicle also struck two other vehicles. A total of six people, including a 45-year-old male company employee, in the two vehicles suffered injuries.
Police said that a patrol car began pursuing Yano after he was seen exceeding the speed limit.
Upon his arrest on suspicion of reckless driving resulting in injury on Tuesday, Yano admitted to the allegations. “Because I thought I would be arrested for speeding, I fled,” the suspect said.
Dashboard camera footage
In dashboard camera footage taken from another vehicle traveling in the same direction as Yano, his white car passes on the right at a high speed at an intersection.
Thereafter, the car swerves into an opposite lane of traffic and crashes head-on into the aforementioned oncoming vehicle. It then spins out of control before coming a stop along the shoulder.
Yano is a sergeant stationed at JGSDF Camp Metabaru, which is located in Saga Prefecture. He serves in an anti-tank helicopter unit.
Yano suffered injuries to his face and other parts of his body in the accident. A person riding with the suspect was also hurt. Police arrested him upon his release from a hospital on Tuesday.
“We would like to express our sincere apologies to the victims, their families and all concerned parties,” said commanding officer Katsuhiro Tsuchiya. “It is regrettable that a GSDF member, who should protect lives, has betrayed the trust of the people. We will fully cooperate with the police investigation and provide thorough guidance to members to prevent a recurrence.”