Five children were injured, three seriously, when a car plowed into a line of primary school students on their way to school in Toyonaka, Osaka Prefecture, at around 7:50 a.m. on Wednesday.
According to police, five boys from the municipal Sakuraidani Primary School located in the city's Shibaharacho district, and a female passerby, 40, were hit by the car. A 7-year-old first year student is unconscious and in a critical condition after suffering a severe blow to the head. Two 11-year-old boys in their sixth year are seriously injured with broken legs. Two second-year students and the passerby were slightly injured.
The police arrested Emi Nakamura, 50, a company employee from Toyonaka, on suspicion of negligent driving resulting in injury. Nakamura told the police that she does not remember how the accident occurred.
The scene of the accident is in a residential neighborhood, located about half a kilometer east of Osaka University's Toyonaka campus and not far from the primary school. According to police, the students were walking on a 7.6-meter-wide street, which has a centre line the suspect apparently drove across. The car hit the children from behind, and then ran into a car stopped at an intersection.
A relative of the suspect said that she was on her way home after dropping off her daughter, who attends middle school. The suspect told the relative that she had hit people while driving the car and that she might have been "absent-minded."
An eyewitness report said a car ahead of the suspect's vehicle stopped suddenly before the accident. The police are considering the possibility that Nakamura may have been trying to pass the other car.