Kazan Kono, the bus driver known for causing multiple deaths and injuries during a road accident last year, pleaded not guilty during a trial on Tuesday. The 45-year old driver of the Rikuentai bus company did admit that he dozed off while driving that tragic day, but claimed that he was suffering from a sleep disorder. The drive was an early morning trip to Tokyo Disneyland, but Kono crashed into a retaining wall at 92 km/h (57 mph) while on the Kanetsu Expressway in April last year.
“I should not have driven the bus without enough sleep,” said Kono during the Tuesday trial. On April 29, 2012 at 4:40 in the morning, Kono crashed a retaining wall in Fujioka, Gunma Prefecture. The accident injured 38 passengers and took the lives of the seven others. On his remorse for what happened, the Rikuentai driver expressed his intent to “apologize to the families of the victims.”
During the first trial against Kono, the defendant claimed that he was sleep deprived when he drove on the morning of the accident. He also said on Tuesday that he suffers from sleep apnea. People who have the syndrome suffer from moments of breathing deprivation while sleeping. “Apnea” literally means the absence of breath. It’s not a condition that causes a person to suddenly fall asleep, but rather they have trouble getting decent sleep at night, and as a result can be tired the next day.
[via Jiji Press]