A Golani soldier took a Humvee jeep on a joy ride early Saturday, barreling past soldiers attempting to halt him and speeding toward a West Bank Palestinian village when he flipped the vehicle over, killing a comrade sleeping in the back seat.
The dead soldier was identified as Cpl. Ariel Ben- Sha'anan, 19, of Tiberias from the Golani Brigade. Another soldier and the driver were also lightly injured.
The incident occurred near the settlement of Shani in the Hebron hills near the village of Yatir about 4 a.m. An initial investigation by three top commanders found that the Humvee was on a routine patrol of the area when it pulled into the Golani base about two kilometers from Shani.
There, the commander of the patrol and the driver apparently got out to check something, leaving two soldiers in the back seat.
At that moment, a veteran Golani soldier who did not have a driver's license jumped into the Humvee and sped off toward Shani. After 500 meters he did a U-turn and sped back toward the base. Soldiers attempted to force the driver to halt, but he skirted them and drove on in the direction of Yatir.
After about 1.5 kilometers he apparently lost control of the vehicle and it flipped over. Sha'anan, in the back seat, apparently died on the spot and the other was initially listed as seriously injured. They were evacuated to Beersheba's Soroka Hospital where the injured soldier was later said to have only suffered light injuries. The driver was also treated for light injuries.
An initial investigation was carried out by Commander of IDF forces in Judea and Samaria Brig.-Gen. Yair Golan together with Yehuda Brigade commander Col. Motti Baruch and Col. Tamir Yadai, who only last week took over the Golani Brigade.
Military sources said it was not clear what prompted the Golani soldier to commandeer the vehicle.
OC Northern Command Maj.-Gen. Udi Adam, to which the Golani Brigade belongs, ordered a full investigation into the fatal accident. This will be carried out by Col. Yossi Sakal, chief of staff of the 366th division.
At least three soldiers have been killed and four injured in Humvee flips in the past two years.