Hit-and-run accident ambulence_311.
(photo credit: Uzi Barak )
A resident of Rehovot was sentenced to seven years behind bars on Sunday for
striking and killing a pedestrian while intoxicated, and then driving home
without stopping to offer assistance.
The driver, Sagi Gamliel, who was
19 at the time, had been drinking in the hours before getting behind the wheel
in 2010. His girlfriend, Yonit Hamema, was a front-seat passenger, according to
the charge sheet.
Their vehicle struck 67-year-old pedestrian Shmuel
Rotshtein, from Kiryat Gat, who was on his way to work early in the morning.
Instead of stopping, Gamliel and his girlfriend drove home and went to bed, only
to be woken by police a few hours later.
Gamliel was charged with
manslaughter, abandoning an injured person after an accident, and driving while
In addition to the prison sentence, the Central District
Court in Petah Tikva passed down a 12- month suspended sentence, and ordered
Gamliel to pay a NIS 25,000 fine as compensation. The court also revoked
Gamliel’s driving license for 15 years. The sentencing came after Gamliel agreed
to a plea bargain. Hamema has not confessed to the charge of assisting a suspect
to abandon an injured person after an accident. Her trial is under
“I am truly saddened that the justice system in Israel saw this as
an appropriate punishment,” the victim’s niece Rutie Bell told The Jerusalem
from her home in the US.
Bell said Gamliel’s actions demonstrated a
complete callousness for human life.
“This sentence does not send the
appropriate message to Israelis,” she said. “It insults the memory of my uncle.
The blood of my uncle is on Mr. Gamliel’s hands, but the blood of future victims
of drinking and driving is on the hands of the Israeli justice
Gamliel’s lawyers said he suffered from schizophrenia and had
been using alcohol to self-medicate.
Although Judge Varda Maroz accepted
that Gamliel suffered from a psychological condition, she wrote in her verdict
that Gamliel drank “in a social setting” prior to the accident, adding that it
had not been proven that the drinking was linked “to the defendant’s claimed
Even if Gamliel did have a psychological condition, Bell said,
“what will happen after he gets out? I don’t understand the message that the
judge is sending. I feel sorry for everyone in this situation, but I don’t get
Last year, Bell told the Post
, “Shmuel was someone’s husband,
father, brother, uncle, friend... He was a good man... Shmuel never asked anyone
for anything. He was just a kind and gentle soul.”
hit-and-run accidents were reported over the past 24 hours. Police in Haifa
suspect that a teenager found injured on a roadside was the victim of a hitand-
run. The youth was rushed to the city’s Rambam Medical Center.
Aviv, a woman was struck and seriously injured on Saturday night while walking
on Jabotinsky Street. She was evacuated to Ichilov Hospital in the city. Police
said the driver sped away from the scene.