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Man who lost daughter in traffic accident fatally hit at crossing while helping kids

MASUDA, Shimane -- A 73-year-old man, who lost his daughter in a traffic accident 33 years ago, died at a hospital here on Jan. 31, a day after he was hit by a light truck while helping elementary school children at a pedestrian crossing on Route 191.

    The truck crashed into a line of pupils from Municipal Toyokawa Elementary School on the morning of Jan. 30, hitting Tadamitsu Mihara, a local resident who was watching out for the safety of the school children as a volunteer. Mihara passed away at a hospital the following day. Of the nine children who were going to their school in a group, a third-grade, 9-year-old male student of the elementary school was also slightly injured.

    Mihara lost his 7-year-old daughter in a traffic accident 33 years ago. The girl, a second-grade elementary school student at the time, was killed while she was on her way home from school. Mihara had since continued his volunteer activities to prevent school children from being involved in traffic accidents. The Shimane Prefectural Police Department's Masuda Police Station arrested Isao Yamaguchi, a 62-year-old company employee from Masuda who was driving the light truck, on the scene of the accident on suspicion of violating the Road Traffic Act, including driving under the influence of alcohol, as alcohol exceeding the legal limit was detected on his breath. Investigative sources say he admitted to the allegations against him.

    According to Masuda Police Station, the accident happened on a two-lane road that is almost straight and there was no traffic light at the crossing. Mihara was apparently standing in the middle of the pedestrian crossing to try to ensure the safety of the school children walking on the crossing.

    A 73-year-old woman who was near the accident site said, "I heard that Mr. Mihara who noticed the truck pushed a boy away to protect him. He seems to have guarded the boy with his own life."

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