Mother, 2 children killed in collision

Local residents say authorities ignored complaints about dangerous road.

nir yisrael crash 298 88 (photo credit: Channel 10)
nir yisrael crash 298 88
(photo credit: Channel 10)
Aya Litert, 32, and her sons, Dror, 4, and Itamar, 1-and-a-half, were killed Monday afternoon in collision between a car and a bus on Road 3, between Kiryat Malahi and Ashkelon, near Moshav Nir Yisrael. The initial investigation indicated that Litert crossed over an unbroken white separation line and did not manage to return to her lane before hitting the bus. The bus, operated by Nehora Tours, continued, possibly out of control, for several meters following the collision, and landed in a roadside field. The driver of the bus and all seven of its passengers were also injured in the collision. The commander of the national traffic police in the south, Dep.Cmdr. Ze'ev Gutman, said that the car had swerved out of its lane for an unknown reason. MDA and firefighting teams that arrived on the scene rescued the eight injured passengers, who were taken to Ashkelon's Barzilai Hospital. "We saw a horrific site when we arrived," one firefighter told Channel 10 news following the collision. "A woman, who was clearly dead, was trapped in the front and a toddler was trapped in the back of the car." Rescue teams that arrived on the side had to disassemble the vehicle, whose front end was completely crushed, in order to rescue the two victims, who both were pronounced dead on the scene. The second toddler in the car was not trapped, and was evacuated by ambulance by MDA teams, but died before reaching the hospital. Rescuers said that the children's costumes for tomorrow's Purim celebrations could be clearly seen strewn across the back of the vehicle. MDA Lahish Region Manager Dror Richter said that "when we arrived at the scene, we saw a horrible sight of a private vehicle that was completely smashed....This accident was extremely difficult, even for the most experienced rescue teams." Nir Yisrael resident Yuval Sharon told Channel 10 News that accidents on that segment of Road 3 have "turned into a routine." He said that the moshav wrote letters to the Public Works Department citing prior collisions on the same road, but that no improvements had been made in light of the complaints. Speaking to reporters on the site, the head of the Lahish District Traffic Division, Ch. Supt. Amnon Levi said that "human error caused this accident when the private car swerved into the path of the oncoming bus. The infrastructure on the road is fine - there is an unbroken white line." "It sounded like a Kassam falling. We went out in an ATV to help, but we found that there was not much for us to do there to help," Sharon said.