The Central District Court in Petah Tikva convicted Tal Mor on Tuesday of manslaughter in the hit-and-run death of cyclist Shneor Cheshin on Road 5 in June.
Mor, 27, was also convicted of driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol and of abandoning the scene of an accident, possession of drugs, obstruction of justice and driving without a valid license or insurance.
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Judge Zecharia Caspi said Mor had not told the truth about the accident, which occurred on the morning of June 18, 2010, as Mor was driving home from a pub crawl in Tel Aviv.
Mor’s car hit Cheshin as he was cycling along the hard shoulder, even though eyewitnesses, including Cheshin’s friend and business partner Amit Levy who was cycling with him at the time of the hitand- run, testified that the road had been relatively clear of traffic, visibility had been good and that Cheshin had been wearing reflective clothing.
Cheshin hit the front of Mor’s car, then the windshield, and then fell onto the road. He died instantly.
However, Mor did not stop his car or call for help. Instead, he drove home, and later called his insurance agent and explained the damage on his car by saying he had hit a tree.
Mor also later lied about the fact that he had consumed copious quantities of beer as well as several shots of arak and whisky, and denied smoking marijuana.
However, eyewitnesses and blood test results contradicted Mor’s testimony.
In his detailed verdict spanning hundreds of pages, Caspi included photographs taken of Mor drinking on the night of the accident, as well as of his car after the hit-and-run, and other photos that indicated Mor had a habit of smoking drugs.
In his testimony, Mor said he had panicked after a car passed him on the left, and then he felt something hit him on the right but did not know what had happened.
He said that when he heard about the accident later on the news, he realized he might have been involved.
However, the court did not find Mor’s testimony credible, and instead found he had fled the scene to prevent or impede the investigation into the accident because he was afraid of being implicated.
“If I said there had been an accident... and where it had happened, I guess I would have gotten a report,” Mor had testified.
The current penalty for hitand- run drivers is nine years imprisonment.
Hit-and-run accidents are ‘widespread’ in Israel and around 700 occur each year in Israel, said Shmuel Aboav, CEO of the Or Yarok Association for Safer Driving.
Aboav called on the Knesset on Tuesday to pass a bill to impose severe punishments on hit-and-run drivers.
“If drivers knew they risked a harsh punishment for fleeing an accident, they might come to their senses and not abandon the wounded,” said Aboav. “Injuring a person and then abandoning them without assisting is an antisocial and immoral crime.”