TOKYO -- No malfunctions were found with the accelerator and brakes of a car driven by an elderly man that fatally crashed into a mother and her young daughter at an intersection here last month, a person close to the investigation said.
The driver in the accident, Kozo Iizuka, 87, had explained during questioning by the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) that the gas pedal had become stuck. Following his statement, the MPD and engineers of the auto manufacturer that made the vehicle examined its control system but no malfunctions were discovered. Investigators now suspect that Iizuka pushed the accelerator instead of the brakes.
The MPD searched Iizuka's house on suspicion of violating the Act on Punishment of Acts Inflicting Death or Injury on Others by Driving a Motor Vehicle, etc.
In the April 19 accident in the Ikebukuro district of Tokyo's Toshima Ward, the car driven by Iizuka ran out of control for about 150 meters after hitting the curb and fatally hit local residents Mana Matsunaga, 31, and her 3-year-old daughter Riko. Ten people including Iizuka and his wife were injured in the incident.
Iizuka is a former head of the Agency of Industrial Science and Technology that fell under the control of the former Ministry of International Trade and Industry.
(Japanese original by Yuki Yamamoto, City News Department)