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2 dead, 4 injured as taxi mounts sidewalk in Tokyo

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- A 73-year-old woman was killed and four others including a child were injured Saturday when a taxi accelerated suddenly and mounted a central Tokyo sidewalk, while the taxi driver also later died.

    The woman, Kumiko Kobayashi, was struck and killed while walking on the sidewalk in the capital's Chiyoda Ward at around 4:20 p.m. Hitoshi Yamamoto, the 64-year-old driver who was in critical condition after the accident, died in hospital, the police said Sunday.

    This photo shows the scene of an accident in which a taxi veered onto a sidewalk and hit four people in Tokyo's Chiyoda Ward on Sept. 11, 2021. (Kyodo)

    Police believe the accident might have been triggered by a sudden health problem experienced by the driver, as an emergency signal in Yamamoto's vehicle was activated.

    The taxi struck two people riding bicycles -- a man in his 40s and his 9-year-old daughter -- before driving onto the sidewalk and hitting Kobayashi and another woman in her 60s. A passenger of the taxi in his 30s also sustained serious injuries, the police said.

    Police said the taxi had stopped at a red light and did not move when the traffic signal turned green. It suddenly lurched forward after the driver of a vehicle behind blew the horn.

    It came to a stop after crashing into a tree on the sidewalk without any sign the brakes had been applied, they added.

    A witness was quoted by the police as saying Yamamoto seemed to have slumped forward in his seat before the car moved away from the traffic lights.

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