Hit-and-run suspects to be charged with murder

"Someone who flees scene instead of helping must be punished," police say.

October 27, 2008 23:14
1 minute read.
Hit-and-run suspects to be charged with murder

car accident 224 88 aj. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)


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Police will charge two men with murder for their part in a hit-and-run accident which killed a pedestrian in Tel Aviv last week, the head of the Traffic Police told the Knesset Interior Committee on Monday. Meital Aharonson, 27, was killed and her friend, Meli Hameriri-Yazdi, remains seriously injured in the hospital after being struck by a black Toyota Landcruiser Jeep in the early hours of Saturday morning near Rabin Square. The two were walking across a pedestrian crossing when they were struck. Commander Avi Ben-Hamo, head of the Traffic Police, told the Knesset committee that this was the "second time in the history of Israel that a murder charge is being submitted for a hit-and-run accident." He added that "someone who flees the scene rather than providing help must be punished severely." Ben-Hamo's stance was backed by the Interior Committee Chairman Ophir Paz-Pines, who said that harsh punishments were needed to deter future hit-and-run incidents. During the session, Ben-Hamo said that from January until now, 13 deadly hit-and-run accidents were recorded, as opposed to 11 during the same period last year. He added that 91 percent of the drivers who fled hit- and-run incidents in 2007 had been apprehended by police, while this year 10 drivers, involved in 77% of this year's incidents, had been arrested. Last week, the third suspect in the fatal hit-and-run accident, Shalom Yemini, turned himself in to police after a public appeal was launched to help track him down. Yemini has a previous conviction of manslaughter after he stabbed another criminal to death during a dispute over drugs, police said. He served five years of his sentence. Shai Simon, 27, of Ramat Gan was remanded by a Tel Aviv District Court for five days on Sunday, after police said he was also involved in the hit-and-run incident. According to police, Simon and Yemini sped away from a police alcohol spot check at Tel Aviv's harbor area, after the black Toyota Landcruiser jeep they were in was pulled over. The jeep's owner and driver, 22-year-old Victor Lavi, was asked to undergo a Breathalyzer test. Lavi handed the jeep's keys to Yemini and Simon, who had claimed they wanted to turn on the vehicle's air conditioning, but who sped away from the scene. Eight minutes after fleeing the area, the jeep struck and killed Aharonson.

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