Deadly day for drivers as 4 die in two separate collisions

One dead as Egged bus slams into parked semi-trailer near Lod; Head-on crash in Gush Etzion claims three lives.

By OREN KESSLER, MELANIE LIDMAN
May 24, 2011 20:42
3 minute read.
Bus crash [file].

Bus crash accident route 1_311. (photo credit: Mandy Hechtman)

 
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One person was killed and 32 were injured on Tuesday morning when an Egged bus slammed into a semi-trailer parked on the shoulder of Route 1 near the Ben Shemen Junction.

Later on Tuesday, three people were killed in a head-on collision in the Gush Etzion settlement bloc south of the capital when the car in which they were traveling was hit by a truck.

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One of the victims was identified as Rabbi Uri Dasberg, 65, from Alon Shvut, who adopted his daughter’s two children after she and her husband, Efrat and Yaron Ungar, were killed by terrorists in 1996.

Two people injured in Tuesday morning’s accident were in serious condition, five suffered moderate injuries and at least 15 were lightly hurt.

The man fatally injured died en route to the hospital.

An Egged spokesman said the bus, nearly full-capacity and traveling the main 405 line from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, struck the right side of the truck, which was parked on the shoulder of the highway. An eyewitness confirmed that account to Israel Radio.

Police, fire and Magen David Adom crews were deployed to the scene, and paramedics evacuated the injured to Assaf Harofeh, Tel Hashomer and Kaplan hospitals.

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Authorities closed Route 1 between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, and police opened an investigation.

The day’s second collision occurred on Route 60 near Neveh Daniel in Gush Etzion.

Dasberg and Yocheved Altschul, 55, from Elazar, died instantly, and MDA treated four other people at the scene, including a 60- year-old woman evacuated in critical condition to Hadassah University Hospital in Ein Kerem, where she soon died. The driver of the truck, a Palestinian, was moderately injured and treated by the Red Crescent.

Dasberg was a rabbi at the Zomet Institute, a non-profit institution dedicated to melding halachic Judaism to the technological necessities of modern life. He was also a contributor to the Talmudic Encyclopedia, a six-decade, ongoing project to organize the halachic topics of the Talmud by alphabetical order.

“Today the children lost their father for the second time,” Rabbi Gideon Perl of Alon Shvut told the Walla News website of Dasberg, whose daughter Efrat and son-in-law Yaron were killed in a shooting attack near Gefen, a Beit Shemesh-area moshav. Dasberg’s funeral will be held at 11 a.m. on Wednesday at the central synagogue in Alon Shvut, and from there proceed to the Kfar Etzion cemetery.

Road-safety organization Or Yarok released statistics on Tuesday indicating that buses are involved in serious accidents at a rate 10 times greater than their share of vehicles on the road, and that semi-trailers’s are involved at a rate nearly five times greater than their share of vehicles.

Buses make up 1 percent of all vehicles, but are involved in 10% of the serious accidents, Or Yarok said. Semi-trailers constitute 2% of all vehicles, but are involved in 9% of serious accidents.

The organization recommended adding lanes for heavy vehicles on high-traffic thoroughfares, establishing additional rest areas for bus and truck drivers and encouraging the use of advanced safety devices in private and public transportation.

Or Yarok director Shmuel Abuav said of Tuesday’s collision, “An accident in which two vehicles weighing dozens of tons strike each other is comparable to a battlefield.

Unfortunately, in this morning’s crash, the collision of a full-capacity bus and a heavy truck resulted in catastrophe.”

Regarding the accident near Ben Shemen, the Egged spokesman said, “The circumstances of the accident are being investigated by the Highway Police. Egged’s accident investigation unit and the bus driver are offering the police their full cooperation.”

The statement said that the driver, who was unharmed, “has a perfect 27-year driving record.

The bus was examined by Egged’s central garage on May 20 and was in top technical condition. Egged is deeply saddened by this accident and wishes the injured a speedy recovery.”

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