The Nara District Public Prosecutor’s Office has officially dropped charges of negligence and leaving the scene of a crime against a taxi driver whose passenger fell out of his cab on the expressway last December 13. The man was hit by the car behind the taxi and died from injuries sustained in the accident.
The office said that there was no evidence that the driver, 64-year-old Kazuo Terai, knowingly left the scene of the accident and that there was nothing he could have done to prevent the death of 71-year-old Yasukatsu Okuda. They also said it was possible that Terai could not have known that his passenger had fallen out of his taxi, as he claimed when police first arrested him. The police say that the security camera inside the taxi showed that Okuda appeared to be intoxicated when he fell out of the right side of the backseat of the cab.
Terai says that he only heard a sound when Okuda fell out and asked “Are you OK?” but did not turn around when he didn’t get a response. The partition in the vehicle makes it difficult for the driver to clearly see his passenger. When he arrived at their destination and he realized he “lost” his passenger, he went back to the highway to see if he could find Okuda. “I honestly did not even notice that the passenger had fallen out,” Terai said when the police arrested him. The prosecutor’s office later on decided that there wasn’t any evidence of any crime committed in the unfortunate incident.
[via Japan Today]