Details Emerge in Crash That Killed 3 From Vernon Hills Family

The crash occurred Friday night about 90 miles north Flagstaff, Ariz.

Yuki, 16, was a Stevenson High School sophomore, and was killed in a crash Friday in Arizonia.
Yuki, 16, was a Stevenson High School sophomore, and was killed in a crash Friday in Arizonia.

A pick-up truck was being chased by police when it collided with the van of a Vernon Hills family in Arizonia last week, causing the crash that killed Tomohiro Hirayama, 50; his wife, Sachiyo, 41; and their son, Yuki, 16, who was a Stevenson High School sophomore, according to the Daily Herald. 

Their 9-year-old daughter, Rinka, survived the crash and remains at Phoenix Children's Hospital in Arizonia, according to the article. 

The crash occurred about 9 p.m. on U.S. Route 160 — about 90 miles north of Flagstaff, Ariz. — shortly after police began to pursue a Ford pick-up truck that was reportedly driving erratically and then  crossed the centerline and hit the Hirayama's van head-on, according to the Daily Herald.

The truck burst into flames and two occupants in the truck were killed and have not been identified, according to the Chicago Tribune.  

The family had recently moved to Vernon Hills from Holland after Tomohiro Hirayama got a job in the area. Yuki had transferred to Stevenson at the beginning of the school year and was a part of the school's fencing program and was also a member of the Stevenson Patriots in New Situations, which is a club for transfer students, according to the Chicago Tribune. 

Rinka attends Half Day School in Lincolnshire and the Hirayamas have no known relatives in the United States, according to the Lincolnshire Review. 

Stevenson was making social workers, counselors and psychologists available for any students needing support and a counseling center was open all day Monday in Room 2104—and longer, if needed, according to the Stevenson High School website. 

Funeral arrangements for the family were unknown as of Monday, according to the Stevenson website. 

Joe Beets April 02, 2014 at 12:54 PM
The problem is the cops who get their kicks trying to be the stars of "Fast and Furious". How many times has this happened? We have GPS now, morons. Figure out where he's headed and set up a roadblock. Will they be disciplined? Hell, no. I was almost killed, myself, by a trooper who ran a red light chasing someone. Had I not spotted him in my peripheral vision and stopped at the green light, we would have both been killed, because he was FLYING. My friend was nailed in a similar situation, and HE was ticketed for "failure to yield to an emergency vehicle", which was not displaying lights or siren.
Brian L. April 02, 2014 at 05:26 PM
I would still think that the problem in this situation is the criminal who ran from the cops and decided to drive into oncoming traffic. I do agree that there are some situations where chases should be called off, but GPS won't solve this. The cops would still have to get some sort of traceable device on the fleeing vehicle unless that vehicle had Onstar or something similar.
Joe Beets April 03, 2014 at 11:53 AM
Brian: A fourth-grader could track him using Google Earth. He was desperate because the cops were chasing him. There will always be idiots who get whacked and drive, but he technology is there to track them. Every cop car has a computer, but their first reaction is to go "French Connection". There are no consequences for them; only for the victims of their recklessness.
Daniel Hill April 09, 2014 at 11:59 AM
Joe, please explain to me how a 4th grader can track someone one Google Earth? are you one of those people who think Google Earth is real time and you can watch a car as it drives down the road? surprisingly there are people out there who believe that.. the story says the police were pursuing, however that can mean a lot of things.. it certainly does not mean that the police were directly behind, they could have been miles behind..
Joe Beets April 10, 2014 at 12:20 AM
Daniel, are you one of those people who believes that Google Earth ONLY uses satellite photos? In 2007, Google began offering traffic data in real-time, based on information crowdsourced from the GPS-identified locations of cellular phone users. In version 4.3 released on April 15, 2008, Google Street View was fully integrated into the program allowing the program to provide an on the street level view in many locations. I was a little fired up when I wrote that, so fourth-grader might not be able to swing it, but the technology is there. The point is, the bad guy was fleeing the cops, who were chasing him. Would he have done that, otherwise?


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