Driver in crash that killed 7 charged: Death by negligence

According to indictment, driver did not pay attention to signs warning that a train was approaching in Kiryat Gat accident.

train accident 311 (photo credit: courtesy)
train accident 311
(photo credit: courtesy)
The Southern District prosecution filed charges with the Kiryat Gat Traffic Court on Thursday against Ya’acov Yashar Yeshurun for causing the “death by negligence” of seven members of the Bernstein family, who were killed when their car collided with a train near Kibbutz Gat in August.
The prosecution also filed a request with the court to revoke Yeshurun’s license.
According to the indictment, the accident happened because Yeshurun, the driver of the victims’ vehicle, was not paying attention to the road, did not notice the signs before the railway crossing warning that a train was approaching, and did not stop his car at the railway crossing. He also did not notice the blinking traffic light before the crossing, although it could be seen from a distance of 200 meters.
Yeshurun’s lawyer, Eli Cohen, said his client denied the charges. “Anyone who drove in the same spot would have met the same fate. We plan to bring forth experts who will state that the train was not alerted in time for the dangers. The fact is that a week after the accident, another crash was averted in the same place because the train operator was able to brake in time.”
He also said Yeshurun had expressed deep sorrow for what happened and that the people in the car had been dear to him.
Yeshurun was a neighbor of the Bernstein family, who lived in Betar Illit, and had been driving them to Moshav Komemiyut at their request. He told reporters that he was receiving psychiatric treatment to cope with the sorrow of the accident.
The police claim that Yeshurun was driving quickly as he reached the train tracks and was unable to stop in time. The train, which was also unable to stop, crashed into the van and dragged it for several hundred meters before coming to rest.
Twenty train passengers were mildly injured in the collision.
Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.