Driver Fails to Brake, Causing Fatal Collision on Tokyo Metropolitan Expressway | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Driver Fails to Brake, Causing Fatal Collision on Tokyo Metropolitan Expressway

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Arrested suspect Yutake

The scene was quickly engulfed in flames. Multiple explosions reverberated throughout the area. The passenger car that was rear-ended by the truck turned into a charred wreck.

On the morning of May 14th, just after 7:30 a.m., a large-scale traffic accident occurred on the Metropolitan Expressway. The incident took place on the down line of Route 5 of the Metropolitan Expressway heading towards Ikebukuro (Toshima Ward, Tokyo) at the Mejiro Junction in Toda City, Saitama Prefecture. A large truck plowed into a line of cars stuck in traffic, involving six vehicles and resulting in three fatalities. Three individuals driving another truck were injured.

“The Metropolitan Police Department’s Traffic Investigation Division arrested Sakyu Furuhata (28), an employee of a transportation company in Atsugi City, Kanagawa Prefecture, on the spot for violating the Road Traffic Act (negligent driving resulting in death). There were no brake marks at the scene, and it is believed that Furuhata did not decelerate before crashing. The camera installed at the scene captured Furuhata’s truck traveling without slowing down from about 10 meters away.

After his arrest, Furuhata made a chilling confession. He stated, ‘I lost consciousness around the Toda Minami Interchange, about 1 kilometer away from the scene,’ and ‘I was not conscious when the collision occurred.’ He had a fever of over 38 degrees Celsius that day and seems to have been driving after taking cold medicine.” (National Newspaper Social Affairs Reporter)

He had been feeling ill for two or three days.


The police suspect negligence on the part of the transportation company where Suspect Furihata worked and conducted a home search on May 17th. Unusual circumstances before the accident have come to light through explanations from the company’s representatives.

“Before the accident, Furihata had worked from early in the morning at 5 a.m. until around noon on the previous day, the 13th. However, during the noon attendance check, he reported feeling unwell and that he had not been feeling well for the past 2-3 days. He returned home early.

Afterward, since there was no contact from Furihata, the company did not change their plans for the next day. Normally, there would be an alcohol check and health confirmation before drivers depart from the office, but it wasn’t conducted because Furihata started early at 4 a.m.” 

The signs of trouble weren’t just health-related. Furihata had been involved in two previous accidents causing injury (in 2020 and 2023) within Kanagawa Prefecture, both resulting in allegations of negligent driving causing injury.

This tragic accident, where three lives could have possibly been spared, underscores the serious consequences of allowing an unwell employee to drive a truck. Although the company’s representative explained to the press that they thought they would be notified if it was too much for Furihata, it’s inevitable that they will face heavy scrutiny for their management responsibilities.

He had a fever of over 38 degrees on the day of the accident (some photos have been doctored).
He had no memory of the accident from about 1 km before the accident site (some photos have been doctored).
He drove the truck even though he had been feeling ill for two or three days (some photos have been doctored).
There were no signs that the suspect applied the brakes (some photos have been doctored).
  • PHOTO Shinji Hasuo

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