(photo credit: ISRAEL POLICE)
In two separate vehicular homicides Tuesday morning, an eight-year-old boy was struck and killed by a school bus in Kfar Menahem, and a Palestinian man died after also killing an Israeli driver during a head-on collision while fleeing police in a stolen car.
In what police are deeming an accident, the child was struck by the bus while navigating a crosswalk in the southern community, located near Kiryat Malachi, when the unidentified driver failed to see him.
Despite receiving prompt resuscitation efforts by emergency medical personnel, the boy died at the scene, police said. The accident comes one day after a minibus driver was arrested in Jerusalem’s Shuafat neighborhood for striking and killing a six-year-old girl.
Later Tuesday morning, a Palestinian and Israeli man were killed in a head-on collision on Route 5 near Herzliya after the Arab man fled police driving a stolen Mercedes and collided with a 37-year-old Netanya resident while driving the wrong way.
According to a police official, the 25-year-old suspect made an illegal U-turn onto the highway after police erected a road block, when he drove into opposing traffic, killing himself and his victim upon impact.
Police have opened an investigation into the incident, the official said.
Meanwhile, following the death of the eight-year-old boy in the South, the Education Ministry issued a statement expressing sorrow, adding that a team of professional grief counselors and psychologists came to the school to support traumatized students and teaching staff.
Additionally, the National Road Safety Authority said that its safety director visited the site to examine the details of the incident and provide recommendations to prevent such occurrences in the future.
According to the road safety organization Or Yarok, over the past decade 17 children have been killed in shuttle bus accidents.
Each day, about 280,000 children – roughly one-fifth of students in formal education institutions – make use of such shuttles, Or Yarok said.
Citing a study conducted in 2009 by the Ran Naor Foundation to Promote Road Safety Research, the organization said that observational cameras discovered that only on 17.5 percent of shuttle trips are there no safety concerns.
On approximately 66% of such trips, students fought while traveling, while on 26% of trips students disrupted the driver, on 29% of trips students were noisy and on 27% of trips they walked around the shuttles while traveling.
Or Yarok called upon the government to ensure that children have safe places to cross the streets near their schools, which are areas highly populated by vehicles in the mornings.
“In addition, the state must include a chaperon for all student shuttles,” a statement from the organization said.
“The chaperon’s role should be to ensure that students are getting on and off the buses safely and put on safety belts during the trip, as well as to help the driver to identify hazards in places that he cannot see.”Lidar Grave-Lazi contributed to this report.