Valium detected in truck driver's blood

Following train wreck, Israel Railways says repairs taking longer than expected.

train crash victim 298 (photo credit: Channel 2)
train crash victim 298
(photo credit: Channel 2)
The driver of the truck involved Monday's deadly train accident at Beit Yehoshua junction was remanded for a further day on Tuesday after traces of valium were found in his blood. His blood tested negative for alcohol. Police said syringes and a tourniquet were found in the vehicle of Dr. Yonatan Va'adia. However, the driver - a veterinarian - said he carried them for professional reasons. Police said Va'adia would be charged with manslaughter and driving under the influence of sedatives. Meanwhile, the train schedules and routes were altered as the repairs at Beit Yehoshua had not yet been completed. Israel Railways announced that the work was taking longer than expected and there would be no train traffic between Netanya and Tel Aviv until Tuesday evening. Officials also said that until the repairs were completed, trains between Tel Aviv and Ben-Gurion Airport would only depart once an hour, not semi-hourly as usually scheduled. Meanwhile, 18 of the injured remained hospitalized on Tuesday morning. Two of them were listed in moderate condition, two in light to moderate status and the rest were lightly injured, Israel Radio reported. The names of the people killed in Monday's train crash are Cpl. Alon Sorek, 19, of Atlit; Moni Paz, 54, of Kiryat Bialik; Suzi Lilach, 27, of Acre; Lior Elbaleh, 30, of Herzliya, and Meital Cohen, 26, of Givatayim. Cohen's family requested that her name not be released until Tuesday morning. Shortly after the collision, police gathered testimony from the two vehicle drivers and the train conductor. According to the initial police investigation, the veterinarian had apparently just been involved in an earlier accident at Poleg, a few kilometers west of the railroad crossing. While initial evidence suggested that one vehicle had been hit from behind while stopped at the closed level-crossing barrier, later evidence indicated that the vehicles may have sideswiped each other, as one swerved out of its lane on the undivided two-lane road. Ofer Linchevski, director-manager of Israel Railways, said the train was allowed to legally travel at 140 km/h on that section of track. Linchevski confirmed that Israel Railways received an initial report about a car blocking the tracks moments before the crash, but without enough time to alert the train driver. Police were investigating how much time actually passed between the alert and the collision. Israel Railways said they would hand over to the police tapes of communications between the train conductor and the dispatcher, as well as any other evidence requested by the police. The train driver escaped with minor injuries, he said. Police chief Karadi said the incident appeared to have been unintentional, but an investigation had begun to ascertain the exact cause. Rescue services struggled frantically yesterday to save trapped train passengers when a northbound train derailed at Beit Yehoshua, south of Netanya, after it plowed into a vehicle blocking a crossing.