As Safed residents gathered to mourn the deaths of three members of the Hadad family, who were killed in a massive collision Saturday night, the Nazareth Magistrate's Court extended by eight days the remand of the man suspected of killing them.
That collision and a similar crash earlier Saturday called in to question whether recent police efforts to reduce drunk driving have yielded results.
The suspected drunk driver, Ehud Kadouri, 45, is no stranger to traffic violations and run-ins with the law. Kadouri, a Herzliya resident, had 65 prior traffic and criminal offenses when he took to the road Saturday night. His license had been suspended four times in the past. Police suspect he was driving under the influence of alcohol when he swerved out of his lane to pass a slower car and slammed into the Hadad family's car.
Kadouri suffered light head injuries in the crash but the family's car was badly mangled, and all but one of the passengers were killed. Mordechai and Mira Hadad, both 52, and their youngest son, 18-year-old Ariel, were pronounced dead on the scene, and their daughter, 23-year-old Einat, was hospitalized in critical condition. The Hadads were returning to Safed after spending the holiday with another daughter, Esther, who lives in Migdal Haemek.
Kadouri was released from the hospital Sunday morning, and appeared before Judge Carmella Rotfeld in the early afternoon, telling her he had refused to give police a blood sample, determining his blood alcohol level, because he felt scared. Police at the scene said that Kadouri's breath smelled strongly of alcohol.
He emphasized that he was a European businessman who does not reside in Israel. Rotfeld chided Kadouri for not offering the blood sample at the time of the collision.
Over 30,000 people gathered at the Safed Cemetery to bury the three family members. Einat Hadad was temporarily released from the hospital in order to attend the funerals, after which she returned to the surgical ward to continue the rehabilitation process. Einat was joined at the funeral by her three surviving siblings and numerous dignitaries, including Tourism Minister Eli Yishai, a close friend of Mordechai Hadad.
The Hadad family was prominent in the Safed haredi community. Mordechai served for years as the local chairman of the Shas party and as the deputy mayor of the city. Friends said he was active in many charitable organizations that support families in the economically-stricken city, which was particularly hard-hit during the recent war.
A minute of silence in memory of the family was observed at Succot festivities across the Merom Hagalil Regional Council Sunday.
At the opposite side of the Galilee, the Haifa Magistrate's Court extended by one day Sunday the remand of 41-year-old Yvgeny Zoltner, who was also suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol and causing a collision Saturday afternoon in which two young women were seriously injured.
Zolter has 15 previous traffic violations on his record, and is suspected of running a red light and slamming into the women's car.