Suburban Teen, Parents Killed in Car Crash

Family's van struck by pickup being chased by police

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Family hit by truck being chased by police in Arizona. Natalie Martinez reports. (Published Monday, Mar 31, 2014)

    A Stevenson High School sophomore and his parents were killed Friday in Arizona during spring break, apparently innocent victims of a police pursuit that ended in a crash.

    According to a posting on the Lincolnshire school's web site, sophomore Yuki Hirayama, 16, was killed in the crash.

    His parents have been identified as Tomohiro and Sachiyo Hirayama.

    Another member of the family, a 9-year-old Rinka Hirayama, survived the crash and is being treated in a Phoenix hospital. She attends Half Day School in Lincolnshire, where school officials told NBC 5 that her grandparents are flying from Japan to be with her.

    The accident happened in Tuba City, which is 50 miles north of Flagstaff and near the Grand Canyon.

    An official with the Arizona Department of Public Safety says  Navajo Police officers were chasing two suspects in a pickup along US 160, when the truck crossed the center line and crashed into the van driven by the Hirayama family.

    The pickup caught fire following the crash, burning the two occupants to death. Officials say the chase was prompted after officers noticed the pickup driving erratically.

    School officials say Yuki transferred to Stevenson at the beginning of the current school year, and was active in the fencing program and a club for transfer students.

    The family had recently moved to Vernon Hills from Holland, after growing up in Japan.

    "The recollections of Yuki were that he was a happy boy with a great disposition. Everyone was just getting to know him a little bit," school spokesman Jim Conrey said.

    Counselors, social workers and psychologists available for students at the high school.