A tearful driver who struck and killed a father and his son on a northern highway on Sunday evening said he was trying to avoid another vehicle that had swerved into his lane.
"I was trying to escape a car that came from the left-hand lane," Rafa Abu Gosh, 41, from Marar, told the Nazareth Traffic Court on Monday.
Abu Gosh hit Aryeh Arkedi, 51, and his 25-year-old son, Ido, from Elikayim, who were out for an evening stroll on the shoulder of the road. Both were killed instantly, paramedics said.
The court extended Abu Gosh's custody for two days.
Abu Gosh, who was returning from a repair job in Beersheba, had stopped off at a gas station before the accident, and drank coffee and energy drinks to stay alert, he said. Abu Gosh rejected initial police speculation that he had fallen asleep at the wheel. "I was very alert," he said.
The driver said he felt "awful" after discovering that he had hit people, adding that he initially believed he struck the highway barrier. He pulled over after feeling a collision, and contacted emergency services.
Police found the body of Aryeh Arkedi. "I almost collapsed after realizing I hit someone," Abu Gosh said.
Yisrael Arkedi, brother of Aryeh, later came looking for his missing relatives, and spotted emergency vehicles on the route he knew they had walked earlier.
"Police thought one person had been struck. I asked, where is Ido?" he told Channel 2 News on Monday.
Arkedi said he had to prompt officers to search for his nephew. "We found him deep in a ditch, 30 meters from the accident scene," he said.
Asked whether his relatives had taken the necessary safety precaution when walking along the road, Arkedi said, "They didn't go with reflective clothing, but the area is as visible [at night] as it is in broad daylight."