Train driver in 2019 Yokohama accident referred to prosecutors

© Kyodo News

A 30-year-old train driver was referred to prosecutors Tuesday over a 2019 accident in Yokohama near Tokyo that left a truck driver dead and 30 injured, local police said.

The man, whose name has not been disclosed, allegedly failed to apply the emergency brake immediately after being alerted by an obstacle detection device, resulting in the train plowing into a truck stopped on the tracks at around 11:40 a.m. on Sept. 5, 2019, according to the Kanagawa prefectural police.

Michio Motohashi, the 67-year-old truck driver, died in the accident while a conductor and 29 passengers aboard the train, including an 80-year-old woman, sustained injuries.

Also, on Tuesday, local police posthumously referred Motohashi to prosecutors on suspicion of violating the motor vehicle act and endangering traffic through negligence, resulting in injury.

Motohashi's employer, a transport company in Katori, Chiba Prefecture, was also referred to prosecutors on suspicion of violating the motor truck transportation business act by failing to have an operation manager.

According to the Japan Transport Safety Board's report on the accident, the eight-car express train was carrying about 500 passengers when it collided with the 13-ton truck stuck in a crossing on the Keikyu Line, causing the first three carriages to derail.

The truck was badly damaged and burst into flames.