Two elementary school boys were killed and three other pupils were seriously injured Monday when a truck driven by a drunk man crashed into them on a street in Chiba Prefecture near Tokyo, police said.
The incident occurred around 3:30 p.m. in Yachimata as the children were on their way home from school. Alcohol in excess of the legal limit was detected when Hiroshi Umezawa took a breathalyzer test, the police said.
Umezawa, 60, was arrested at the scene on suspicion of negligent driving resulting in injury. He has admitted to the allegation, the police said.
They quoted Umezawa as saying he crashed into the group of four boys and a girl after hitting a utility pole when he suddenly swerved to the left.
Of the five, four were aged between 6 and 10, while information about the other child was not immediately available, according to the fire department.
Of the three injured, one was unconscious and the two others were severely injured.
The children were pupils of nearby Choyo Elementary School, according to the school, which checked their belongings at the scene.
Umezawa works for a Yachimata transport company, an affiliate of Nanbu Corp., a reinforcing bar processing company in Tokyo.
Tatsuhiro Chinen, president of Nanbu, apologized for the accident, telling reporters he is terribly sorry that Umezawa "caused the traffic accident by drunken driving, something that should never have happened."
Chinen said the transport company does not make it a custom to conduct alcohol tests for drivers, trusting them not to drink before or during work.
Umezawa has worked for the company since April 2005, and started work around 6 a.m. on Monday, according to Chinen.