Charges In Tomizawa Case Likely To Be Dropped, But Question Marks Over Time Of Death

The investigation opened by the Rimini public prosecutor's office into the death of Shoya Tomizawa is drawing to a close, according to reports by the Italian press agency ANSA. The charges of culpable homicide (equivalent to criminally negligent manslaughter) which had been brought against "persons unknown" are likely to be dropped, the reports say. The autopsy on the 19-year-old Japanese rider revealed that Tomizawa had in fact been dead on arrival at the Ospedale Ceccarini di Riccione hospital, having died in the ambulance during the short journey to the circuit. The cause of death was identified as chest trauma, Tomizawa's lungs and heart having been irreparably damaged in the impact.

The investigation will now center on whether all reasonable steps had been taken to provide the best possible care for Tomizawa, and that everything that could be done to save the Technomag CIP rider's life had been done. The investigation is likely to focus on the treatment Tomizawa received at trackside and in the Clinica Mobile before being sent to the hospital. Once that investigation has been completed, the case will be closed officially.

The revelation that Tomizawa was already dead on arrival at the hospital brings into doubt the official time of death released by Dorna and the authorities on Sunday. According to the official statement released by Dorna, Tomizawa died at 2:19, after the hospital staff had attempted to resuscitate the Japanese rider. That does not appear to be the case, though. Fiat Yamaha rider Jorge Lorenzo claims in a blog post that he had been told that Tomizawa was dead before he left his motorhome to go to the grid, "by a reliable source." If true, this would put Tomizawa's death somewhere between 1:30pm and 1:50pm, at least half an hour before the official pronouncement was made. However, given the swirl of rumor and speculation that immediately started in the paddock after Tomizawa's crash, the reliability of even the most reliable sources may be in question.

However, the doubt over the time of Tomizawa's death brings back bad memories of the death of Ayrton Senna in 1994. The Brazilian Formula One legend was killed in a crash at Imola, suffering massive brain injuries during the race. Senna was given an emergency tracheotomy and then transported to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead later on. Suspicions continue that Senna was actually already dead at Imola, and his vital signs were being sustained artificially, to circumvent an arcane Italian law that states that when anyone dies at a sporting event, a full investigation has to be opened, bringing the event immediately to a halt, and leaving the organizers to deal with tens and even hundreds of thousands of irate fans.

The unintended consequences of that law is that organizations have a vested interest in people not dying at events, but in nearby hospitals or in ambulances and helicopters on their way to hospital. No such case has ever been proven, either in the Senna investigation or elsewhere, nor is there any suggestion that this might be the case for Tomizawa. However, the law certainly provides a perverse incentive to organizers when tragedy does strike.

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Yet the announcers were told that all three downed riders were on their way to the hospital for a routine checke up, and none had life theatening injuries.

Smells bad, doesnt it?

Total votes: 72

When, the ambulance crews start doing CPR asap, this means the person has no sgins of life, no pulse, no breathing..
The Ambulance crews in Australia will keep doing CPR until they reach hospital, and the call of DOA can be made by a Doctor. This also avoids extra paper work.
There for the time of death can actuly much later than the accident. as you have to include time to travel, and ER to resuscitate.
Poor Tomizawa passed away in the accident.

Total votes: 73

"The autopsy on the 19-year-old Japanese rider revealed that Tomizawa had in fact been dead on arrival at the Ospedale Ceccarini di Riccione hospital, having died in the ambulance during the short journey to the circuit"
How on earth can they say that..now he might have been dead on arrival there but to say he died in the ambulance??
Medical staff were in attendance immediately at the race track apparently so they did not say that
I have attended numerous post mortems and time of death is not an exact science before people ask

Total votes: 72

No CPR was done on the track despite the claims he was moved because he was not breathing

Total votes: 72

I don't feel good weighing in on any of this tragedy, but I believe he probably didn't survive more than a second after his crash. From the moment someone came upon him from the time they called their efforts final I'm sure many people gave their best to turn back time. Finding which moment he died is simply an attempt to pinpoint who's following efforts were more futile than the last, and subsequently I believe not worth doing. He died doing what he loved, participating in a sport with risks.

I think that there is value in investigating the events if only to be sure that in the future those same best efforts can be effective to their maximum. Further I think these tragic events of the last 2 weeks should just serve as a reminder of the danger, of the shortness of life and to never become complacent in how relatively fortunate many are to participate safely. Saying a red flag would have saved a life or fulfilled protocol will not save one more life. But maybe new ideas of protective gear would. I'm not sure what else would have changed the outcome of his family and fans horrible loss.

Get well soon, Mr. Redding.

Total votes: 70

I can only hope at this point that changes will be made in how obviously serious accidents are handled in future events. Daijiro opened the public's eyes. I hope Shoya can do the same to the "organizers"...

Total votes: 60

This tragedy has been difficult to endure, but this is a very sensible move by the people at the prosecutor's office. Imo, the world was left dumbstruck by Italian legal proceedings after Senna's death. I'm very happy that this time around, they are going to let Tomizawa rest in peace w/o dragging friends, team members, medics, and sporting officials through the hell of 10 years in court.

Very good move, Mr. Prosecutor. Thank you.

Total votes: 68

.... shame that all this has to be brought out.

YES, I know it must be resolved, but what a shame that the Tomi-san family must hear of it.

My feeling (after a few days have pasted) are with Scott & Alex. I think we forget how hard this must be for both of them.

Total votes: 70

"Saying a red flag would have saved a life or fulfilled protocol will not save one more life."

A red flag when someone is seriously injured can be the difference between life and death. Not following proper medical protocols can also be the difference either between life & death or the injured rider walking and/or riding again.

I will agree with you that he was gone after the impacts and the rest that was done was just going through the motions, but attempts to resuscitate him had to be done. To argue now about time of death is futile. It accomplishes absolutely nothing.

According to Scott Redding's Facebook fan page, he'll be doing a test day at Valencia next Monday in preparation for the race at Aragon. Good luck at Aragon to Scott and AdA, get in the zone.

Total votes: 70

I agree with flattracker, this is wrong, he was aready dead, such masive injuries lead for sure to an instant dead...
Shame on Dorna...
All for the money....
RIP Tomizawa

Total votes: 72

I'm sure it would have been much better if they made an announcement about Tomizawa's death over the loud speaker before the family was notified.

Total votes: 68

If Shoya had Died when they say
(Jorge seems to know when he allegedly died)
did Dorna delay the news on Shoya's death just to get the Motogp race run ? so it wasn't Cancelled
if so how bad is that

Total votes: 66

I'd have to agree with phoenix1. It's expected they'd wait until family is notified, race or no race.

Funny thing is they keep insisting that they didn't know until 2:20 (well into MotoGP race) even after they announced it. Well there would be no point in lieing about the time of death AFTER they notified the family.

So they're either telling the truth (being that they were told he died sometime around 2:19), they're completely full of it, or probably the truth lies somewhere in the middle. They probably had a few medics near him who knew he passed but they did not report it out until they were on the road to the hospital... for the family, for the race, for the whatever.

Neither Angels nor Demons are they.

Total votes: 64

Like everybody else, I have been trying to deal with the 2 deaths of the past week that remind us that our beloved sport is still a dangerous one. I was shocked and sickened by the death of Peter Lenz. Shoya Tomizawa’s has just made the sadness even deeper.

The subject of this post however is about an issue that I think many have been too quick to pass over and definitely needs more reflection, and that is the age of both riders.

IMO the “He died while doing what he loved most” that always comes up to de-dramatize the events can barely be applied to Shoya and not at all to Peter.

We should understand that our sport is also a spectacle and a business, and over the past years we have seen how very talented riders get pushed up the ranks as quickly as they can go. Perhaps too quickly.

Obviously a talent and drive like Peter’s is a unique gift that deserves to be allowed to blossom. His parents already did all they could to harness the talent and direct him, but I also think the whole sport as a whole has a responsibility to care (note that I am not saying “protect”) for the youth. And lets face it, Peter was still a kid.

As a lot of others, I had discovered Peter in videos circulating the web. An incredible talent, a child who spoke like a racer. A miniature Edwards or Rainey or Doohan. I must say that knowing the injuries he had to endure from racing last year already had me thinking if he was too young to go through that. I could neve have imagined that he would lose his life on a track.

Being hit by another rider is the part of track racing that simply cannot be made any safer. The impacts Shoya received were brutal, but I cannot stop thinking that his small size and slight build probably contributed to him not being able to survive the injuries. We have all seen how Dani’s small size makes him more injury prone. In Peter’s case, how can the body of a 13 year old boy be expected to fare in a big crash.

Has anybody spotted the change in Marc Marquez from last year to this year? Surely his growth spurt and strength are a better protection to him now than anything Dainese can make…

Look at Nicky, Colin, Randy, Jorge. The guys are strong as bulls.
Maybe we really should wait until young riders grow-up before putting them on track.

Why are we not discussing the IoM deaths in the same context?
It does not escape anyone how dangerous racing on the Island is. Perhaps the improved safety of tracks and protective clothing is misleading, and we are ignoring that a track can still be too dangerous for the youngest racers.

Total votes: 69

Its the skill at these ages that prevent these things happening more often, they start very early and develop these amazing skills over years of racing. how old would you have them start. and younger people heal a lot quicker than older people.
these are very sad events, but they have nothing to do with age.
Peter may have only been 13 but he had ten years experience.
Shoya was only 19 but average age for a Moto2 rider.
I disagree strongly these kids were too young to be doing what they did so well.

Total votes: 67

I think that youngsters (below age 16) should be restricted on the size and weight of the bikes they are allowed to ride using a graduated scale.

For instance, I think a lad of 13 should be on a bike that weighs less than 150 pounds and can't exceed 60 mph. Children of lessor age would have even more restrictive weight and top speed limits. Older children could have a bit more heavy bike with a bit more top end.

Once a young man has reached 16 he is usually strong enough to "manhandle" a heavier and faster machine.

At age 19 I was in the middle of fighting a war. I think by that age a young man can handle himself and can make his own assesment of risks vs rewards.

Just my opinion.

Total votes: 74

My comment was mostly about Peter.

If it read that Shoya was too young I didn't mean that. My comment on Shoya was that probably his slender build didn't help him in the crash. The similarity in both events was that they were both small riders hit by other riders/bikes. Obviously in Shoya's case he is old enough for any category and definitely able to asses risks vs. rewards as SV said.

Proc, I'm sorry but I cannot agree with you. Sure that starting at a young ages helps them build amazing skills, but the problem is that they have skills above and beyond the stage where their body is. In other sports, like soccer or tennis, some kids have the skill of the pros, they just don't have the strength and size to be on the same court/field until around 16 years of age. The problem on bikes is that the lack of size is not an issue. They can ride almost any bike beautifully, but when they do dump it, then what? I'm not going to say "young people heal better" because that is plain cynical.

All I'm saying is that just looking at Peter Lenz the racer is only looking at half the story. Like SV said, below 16 should have a size/weight restriction

where their body can take them. The moment they are off, well yo

Total votes: 64

are going to be banned for anyone under 16 or whatever age society deems necessary. It can't be football (american) because we all know they never die or get injured, right?? That's also true of skateboarding, skiing, snowboarding, BMX, horseback riding, etc. So, are those to be banned too? Oh, and someone could get hit by that baseball so we better not let them do that. We all know that falling from a bicycle could also be fatal so that's out too. Where does it stop?

And the argument of speed doesn't work, I've seen racers at the track seriously injured at 35 mph as well as at 135 mph. I've also witnessed many walk away from both. In fact, I saw that the estimated speed of the bike that struck Peter was approximately 35 mph. Mini-bikes go that fast. So again, where's the line? Hell, one of them could fall off the front porch steps onto the sidewalk and be gone instantly. That happened to an 8 year old in this area a couple of years ago. Maybe we should make them all wear armored suits till they're 16 and then they'll be alright.

Total votes: 64

No one has suggested that children be banned from racing. I am just suggesting that as adults we control the environments that our children are put in to lessen the chance of having to go to their funeral or push them in a wheel chair for the rest of their life. Using adult intelligence to rear our children is job 1.

As an ex racer I can tell you that small framed children should not be trying to handle a 1000cc superbike - which is what seems to be your position.

I was sitting right in front of the Peter Lenz crash and it sure seemed they were going a lot faster than 35 mph but it doesn't matter, accidents will happen no matter how many safeguards are implemented and the risks are always going to be there but as a father I will always use adult common sense to reduce that chance as much as I can. For our children safety has to be more important that the fun factor when their life is at stake.

This is not a commentary on Peters parents or anyone else. I am just saying that common sense and safety has to be the most important aspect when formulating the rules for children in participating in any dangerous sport.

Total votes: 64

Ricky wrote "I must say that knowing the injuries he had to endure from racing last year already had me thinking if he was too young to go through that. I could neve have imagined that he would lose his life on a track." and " In Peter’s case, how can the body of a 13 year old boy be expected to fare in a big crash."

To me, while that may not say directly that Peter shouldn't have been racing, is very, very close.

I was trying to make a point that we can not protect our kids from everything. Many sports have risks and the possibility of extreme injury or death exists in many sports. I named football, horseback riding, skiing & skateboarding as dangerous sports, just to name a few. If kids are allowed to participate in any of these activities there is a chance that they could be severely injured or even die, even if they are wearing all the proper safety gear. My point is where do we draw the line? Should we outlaw pop warner because the kids are too young to take any risks?

I fully understand trying to protect our kids but I also know that life is about risk management. Whether it's financial risk, physical risks, emotional risks, etc. Teaching them to manage those risks is one of lifes most important lessons.

BTW, where did I say (or come close) or insinuate that I felt that small framed children should be allowed to race a 1000cc SuperBike??

As an ex-racer, you of all people should realize that you can be seriously injured at about any speed. It depends as much on what the rider impacts and how, as much as what speed they were traveling. Most of the time the rider isn't struck by their own or another bike, fortunately. When a bike is involved, it almost always worse. I've been a cornerworker/marshal for over 20 years, at many amateur and professional events. I have seen hundreds, if not thousands, of incidents from quite low speed to very high speed. I've seen serious injury result from both high and low speed incidents. It seems that the biggest factor in those that I've witnessed where a rider is seriously injured or killed, it's more about what the rider impacts rather than the speed. That's not always true of course but generally speaking, it is.

Protecting our kids can be a delicate balance of limiting the risk taken while also allowing them to take whichever talent they may have and following their dreams. To me that should be a choice made by all involved, including the child, only after careful consideration of all possible detriments & benefits. It should not be dictated by others or more specifically by those in society today that feel that we need to be protected from ourselves. That's not life, it's at best, just existence.

Total votes: 65