A student at Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire was killed along with his parents when a vehicle being pursued by the police officers crossed the dividing line and struck their vehicle. The crash occurred on Monday, April 1 in Arizona where the family of four was vacationing for spring break. High school sophomore Yuki Hirayama and his parents, Tomohiro Hirayama and Sachiyo Hirayama, were killed in the crash, and the family's 9 year-old daughter, Rinka Hirayama, was seriously injured and transported to the local hospital in critical condition. She attends Half Day School in Lincolnshire.
Both occupants of the truck were also killed in the accident. The vehicle — a maroon Ford pickup — was being chased by officers from the Navajo Police Department after reports of alleged erratic driving about 25 miles away in Tuba City. The vehicle crossed the center divide and struck the Hirayamas' 2014 Chrysler van. Police officers, who were about a mile and a half behind the pickup due to concerns for the safety of other drivers on the road, were soon on the scene.
The Hirayama family had recently moved to Vernon Hills, a northern suburb of Chicago, from Holland. Yuki participated in the fencing program at Stevenson High School and a club for transfer students called the Stevenson Patriots. He was taking English classes at the English Language Learning Program. His classmates in the language program expressed a desire to conduct a traditional Japanese memorial service in his honor. Counselors at the school are making their offices available to speak with students.
Unfortunately, car accidents are all too common. Thousands of drivers and passengers are hurt or killed every year in car accidents in the United States. In the state of Illinois alone, 994 individuals were killed in 2013. Severe driver negligence or recklessness is a high contributing factor.