Jeep driver apologizes for running over Swedish tourist on Haifa beach

The Haifa Magistrate's Court on Sunday remanded David Azran, a Kiriat Haim resident suspected of running over a Swedish tourist at a southern Haifa beach on Saturday. During the court proceeding, Azran apologized for the incident, claiming that he had not seen the tourist. Initially reported to be in moderate condition, the condition of the 24-year old economics student was said to be much improved on Sunday. "She was lucky. The injuries she sustained seemed severe at first but turned out to be light, and I believe that in a few days she will fully recover from the accident without need for surgery," Prof. Michael Krausz, the director of the surgical department at Rambam Hospital in Haifa, told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday. The tourist was studying at the Haifa University's exchange students program. She arrived at the beach on Saturday with one of her friends and was run over while sun-bathing on the sand. Krausz said that she had suffered cuts in her scalp, two fractures in her spinal column and a tear in her liver. "I asked the group of friends she came with to Israel to postpone her flight back for another week, but I believe that by next week her medical condition should be stable, allowing her to be able to fly back home," Prof. Krausz said. Tirat HaCarmel police station commander Supt. Tuvia Israel said after the accident that eyewitnesses said they shouted to the jeep driver in an attempt to stop him. "But he probably got confused and drove forward and hit the young tourist again," Israel said. Azran, 33, the driver from Kiryat Haim, has a record of dozens of traffic violations. He was arrested for 24 hours on Sunday morning after the judge refused to extend his remand by five more days. His lawyer, Tomer Nave, told the court that there is no need to put him behind bars because he was not a criminal and that "there is no chance that he will sit behind the wheel any time soon. When he was on his way to the beach he had no intention to run over anyone," the lawyer said. Though Israeli law has prohibited driving on beaches for the past ten years, police have had a hard time enforcing the law, and policemen are only sent after particularly reckless drivers, Israel said.