Five killed in Jordan Valley car crash

Victims were returning from Mt. Meron; over 40 teens treated for Lag Ba'omer binge drinking, burns.

car accident 248 88 (photo credit: Channel 2)
car accident 248 88
(photo credit: Channel 2)
A father and his two sons were among the five people killed Tuesday afternoon on Highway 90 in the Jordan Valley, near the Argaman neighborhood. The victims were Naftali Hertz Va'aknin, 36; his two sons - Nahman Hertz Va'aknin, 9.5 and Natan Hertz Va'aknin, 7; Naftali Videvski, 8.5; Natan Ospersko, 30. The accident occurred when a Mazda carrying six people returning from Lag Ba'omer celebrations in Mount Meron veered into the opposite lane and collided with a bus, which was traveling north. According to police, the driver of the car was fined earlier Tuesday after he was caught speaking on his cellphone while driving. A 39-year-old man was in a moderate-to-serious condition and was evacuated by helicopter to Haifa's Rambam Hospital. The bus driver and one of his passengers were lightly injured and were taken to Haemek Hospital in Afula. Some 150,000 people attended the annual festivities at Mount Meron, the burial site of Rabbi Shimon Bar-Yohai, on Monday night. During the events, however, 115 people suffered from fainting, dehydration and limb injuries. Twelve of them had to be evacuated to the Rebecca Sieff Hospital in Safed. Meanwhile, Magen David Adom treated some 40 children and teenagers throughout the country for the effects of binge drinking during the celebrations. The most serious case was a 13-year-old boy who was taken unconscious and in serious condition to Rambam Medical Center in Haifa after he passed out from excessive drinking. He had been evacuated from the courtyard of a Kiryat Yam school where he was attending a bonfire. When the MDA medics arrived, they found that a number of his peers were also drunk, but not as heavily as he. MDA director-general Eli Bin said that the growing use of alcohol by children on Lag Ba'omer was very worrisome, because not only could it cause brain damage and even kill, but it could also increase the risk of violence. Most of the bonfires lacked adult supervision. Nine children and youths suffered burns due to careless handling of bonfires. A 17-year-old boy in Modi'in was moderately hurt when he threw inflammable materials onto a bonfire, causing sparks to set his shirt on fire. He suffered burns on 40 percent of his body and was rushed to hospital. When MDA arrived on the scene to treat 12- and 13-year-olds who suffered burns at a bonfire in Bat Yam on Monday night, the paramedics were assaulted by teens, and police were called in to intervene. In Tel Aviv, Ashdod and Ashkelon, five teenagers were stabbed and suffered light injuries at bonfires.