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Filipino woman killed in hit-and-run; school vice principal arrested

SAITAMA (TR) – Saitama Prefectural Police on Sunday arrested the 54-year-old vice principal of a municipal elementary school in Kawaguchi City over a traffic accident that resulted in the death of a Filipino woman last week, reports the Mainichi Shimbun (July 29).

At around 2:20 a.m. on July 28, a vehicle driven by Yoshiaki Tanaka, the vice principal of the Honcho Elementary School, struck Josephine Rameda Ito, 56, as she pedaled a bicycle on a municipal road in the Higashihongo area of Kawaguchi.

Tanaka then fled the scene without assisting Ito, who was later confirmed dead. The Bunan Police Station arrested Tanaka on suspicion of hit-and-run resulting injury and involuntary manslaughter the following day after security camera footage allowed for the identification of his vehicle.

Tanaka partially denies the allegations. “I was driving after drinking alcohol,” the suspect was quoted by police. I thought it was an accident in which I hit an object [as opposed to a person].”

Yoshiaki Tanaka
Yoshiaki Tanaka (Twitter)

“She might have been saved”

According to the Kawaguchi City Board of Education, Tanaka started drinking at a Chinese restaurant with the principal of the school in a group of five at around 6:30 p.m. on the evening before the accident. Upon his departure about four hours later, the suspect falsely told the group that he was going home by bus.

“With trust forming the basis of education, this matter is being taken seriously,” a member of the board said at a press conference on July 29.

At the time of the incident, Ito was returning home from her job at a restaurant. “She might have been saved if he had called an ambulance as soon as the accident took place,” the daughter of Ito was quoted by Fuji News Network (July 30). “It is truly disappointing.”

Police are now investigating whether to also accuse Tanaka of drunk driving.