Man gets 18 years for Kanagawa road rage incident that left couple dead and their daughters injured
Japan Times -- Dec 15
A court on Friday sentenced a 26-year-old man to 18 years in prison for a highway road rage incident last year in which a couple died and their two teenage daughters were injured.

Kazuho Ishibashi was convicted of dangerous driving resulting in death and injury after he overtook the family’s vehicle on the Tomei Expressway in Kanagawa Prefecture on June 5, 2017, and forced it to stop in the passing lane where they were hit from behind by a truck.

Prosecutors had demanded a 23-year prison term while the defendant had pleaded not guilty in the trial at the Yokohama District Court.

Presiding Judge Shigeyuki Fukasawa recognized a causal link between the defendant’s road rage and the fatal accident, saying, “Making (the deceased couple’s) car stop after blocking its way four times was an act inseparable (from the accident). The death and injury were the consequences of his driving.”

According to the ruling, Ishibashi became enraged after being warned by Yoshihisa Hagiyama, 45, about the way he parked his car at an expressway parking area just before the incident. Ishibashi chased Hagiyama, who was traveling with his wife, Yuka, 39, and their two daughters.

“The defendant’s persistent actions were based on a strong intent, and the consequence was serious. The sorrow of the people who were suddenly deprived of their lives is beyond all imagination,” said Fukasawa, adding that the court concluded the defendant is not sincerely reflecting on his actions.

The focal point of the trial was whether the charge of dangerous driving resulting in death and injury, normally applied to actions taken while behind the wheel, could be brought against Ishibashi who was no longer driving when the couple died.

Ishibashi was threatening to drag Hagiyama out of the vehicle when it was rammed by the truck.

The court noted, however, that the case did not meet all criteria for dangerous driving because the incident occurred when the defendant’s vehicle was not in motion.

東名高速であおり運転の末に夫婦2人を死亡させた罪などに問われていた石橋和歩被告(26)の裁判で、横浜地裁は、求刑23年に対し、懲役18年の有罪判決を言い渡した。横浜地裁は争点だった危険運転致死傷罪の適用を認めた。
News sources: Japan Times, ANNnewsCH
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