(photo credit: Channel 1)
A Negev resident who ran a red light at Plugot Junction caused a crash that involved three vehicles Saturday afternoon.
Three passengers of one vehicle - Nikolai Lbutin, 57, of Ashkelon, his wife Paulina, 73, and their daughter Olga Yaakovenko, 31, were all pronounced dead on the scene after a van driven by the Negev resident slammed into their car.
Yaakovenko's eight-year-old son Yulik was rushed to Ashkelon's Barzilai Hospital where he remained in critical condition Saturday night.
An eyewitness who called police to the scene, which rescuers said looked more like a bombing than a crash, told investigators that the van's driver ignored the red light at the busy junction and slammed into the car in which the Ashkelon family was riding. An additional two cars then plowed into the stricken car.
Rescuers discovered that 14 Palestinians who had illegally entered Israel were jammed into the back of the van that caused the crash. All were residents of Dura, outside of Hebron, and were hospitalized in good-to-moderate condition.
A total of 16 people were hospitalized following the crash, spread out across three southern hospitals - Barzilai as well as Rehovot's Kaplan Medical Center and Beersheba's Soroka Medical Center. Six of those injured were listed Saturday evening in moderate condition, and nine in good condition.
Police said that they would be investigating the van's driver and others involved on criminal charges, as well as charges stemming from the traffic violation that caused the crash.
Friday night, a 10-year-old resident of the Galilee village of Turan was killed after he ran into the street and was struck by an oncoming vehicle. The driver of the car was hospitalized following the crash.