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Police suspect human error in fatal car crash in Tokyo

Police officers investigate the scene of an accident in the Ikebukuro district of Tokyo on April 19, 2019, after a car driven by a man in his 80s struck pedestrians at a crosswalk and then a garbage truck, leaving 10 people injured with two of them in critical condition. (Kyodo)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- A car crash in Tokyo that killed two people and injured eight others may have been caused by driver error in the absence of evidence suggesting mechanical trouble, police said Saturday.

Mana Matsunaga, 31, and her 3-year-old daughter Riko died when a car driven by an 87-year-old man rammed into their bicycle in the city's Ikebukuro district. The car also struck another cyclist, injured the driver of a garbage truck and mowed down four pedestrians before coming to halt some 150 meters after first striking a guard rail.

The Metropolitan Police Department has identified the driver as Kozo Iizuka. Both Iizuka and his wife, who was in the car with him, suffered broken bones and were admitted to hospital.

The driver was quoted by the police as saying the accelerator pedal became stuck.

The police have found no evidence that Kozo is suffering from any serious health problems or was under the influence of alcohol or medication at the time of the accident.

In the investigation so far, nothing has been found that could have impeded the movement of the accelerator pedal, they said.

A neighbor of the driver told Kyodo News that in recent months he has seen the man walking with a cane and having trouble parking his car in his garage.

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