Police raid bus operator over crash on Nagoya Expressway

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Police investigators search the head office of Aoi Traffic Corp. in Komaki, Aichi Prefecture, on Tuesday.

NAGOYA (Jiji Press) — Police on Tuesday raided the operator of a bus, a day after it overturned and burst into flames on an expressway in Nagoya, leaving two people dead and seven others injured.

The Aichi prefectural police believe there were no abnormalities with the bus and suspect that the crash was caused by the driver, according to sources familiar with the investigation.

Six investigators from the police searched the head office of Aoi Traffic Corp., the bus operator based in Komaki, Aichi Prefecture, and its branch where the driver is based. Two cardboard boxes of documents were seized.

Speaking at a press conference at the head office, Aoi Traffic President Hidenori Matsuura said, “We pray for the victims and apologize to people injured from the bottom of our heart.”

The bus rammed into a dividing strip separating the main and exit lanes of the Nagoya Expressway and knocked over impact-absorbing obstacles and large signs, leaving its front right side completely wrecked. It then tipped over and was struck from behind by a passenger car.

The crash killed two people aboard the bus and injured six other passengers as well as the driver of the car.

The speed limit in the area was 60 kph, and there were no apparent brake marks near the dividing strip. The police suspect that the driver either mishandled the steering wheel or suffered health issues.

The bus driver in his 50s has been working for Aoi Traffic since 2019 and there have been no issues with his work history, according to the company.