Another accident averted at crossing where 7 died last week

Minibus driver involved in Thursday’s tragedy released to house arrest.

August 11, 2010 03:35
2 minute read.
Train crash in Kiryat Gat

train crash 311. (photo credit: Channel 10)


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A train engineer slammed the brakes just in time to avoid colliding with a truck on Tuesday evening, at the same crossing near Kibbutz Gat where a trainminibus collision last week killed seven members of the same family.

According to Channel 2, the truck driver was braking as he approached the barrier but didn’t manage to stop in time. He broke through the barrier and only managed to stop the truck when it was on the track.

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An Israel Railways crossing guard was able to warn the engineer about the truck in time.

The near-miss occurred the day the driver of the van involved last week’s collision was released to house arrest by the Kiryat Gat Magistrate’s Court.

Yashar Yeshurun was given 180 days’ house arrest, which he will serve at his father-inlaw’s house in Yeroham. A travel restriction was placed on his passport, and he had to pay NIS 50,000 bail.

Police had requested a fiveday extension of Yeshurun’s remand, but presiding Judge Ayal Baumgart ruled that releasing him on house arrest would not impair the ability of police to investigate the accident.

Police said Saturday that Yeshurun is currently being investigated for vehicular manslaughter. According to Channel 2, investigators were at the crossing Tuesday continuing their probe when the near-miss occurred.

On Sunday, Yeshurun was brought to the scene of the accident by police, where he reenacted how the collision took place. Yeshurun maintains that he was speaking to one of the passengers and did not notice he was on the railroad track until it was too late and he was stuck on the track.

Police suspect that Yeshurun was driving at a high speed and broke through the safety barrier before the tracks.

The deadly crash killed seven members of the Bernstein and Gottstein families from Beitar Illit, who lived close to Yeshurun in the West Bank settlement.

The victims include Aryeh Bernstein, 43, his wife Rivka, 41, their children Mordechai, 9, Chaya, 14, and Yohanan, 16, and their daughter Malki Gottstein, 21, who was pregnant, and her son Mordechai, 1.

Yeshurun had 11 traffic violations over the last eight years, which police described as not necessarily a high amount over that time period. Yeshurun has also had a few arrests for property crimes and disturbing the peace, the last of which was in 1998.

Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.

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