Driver gets 56 months for drunken chase, other offenses

The Tel Aviv District Court sentenced to prison for a long list of traffic and criminal offenses.

311_gavel (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The Tel Aviv District Court sentenced Baka al-Gharbiya resident Sami Masri to 56 months in prison on Tuesday for a long list of traffic and criminal offenses.
In December 2009, a drunken Masri ran seven red lights, leading police volunteers on a wild car chase, which ended only after they shot out his tires and chased him down on foot after he ditched the car. Masri was driving without a license, as it had been revoked for other driving offenses four years earlier.
During the chase, Masri twice dodged past police cars that tried to block his path and in one of the instances aimed his vehicle directly at the volunteer who was motioning for him to pull over, narrowly missing him.
Masri pled guilty to the charges, as well as charges of breaking and entering, theft, and attempted vehicular assault, which were pending in a separate trial, in a plea bargain.
The plea bargain did not include an agreement as to the sentence, but the Tel Aviv District Attorney’s Office requested a lengthy sentence.
In its arguments, the prosecution recalled Masri’s criminal record and stressed his endangerment of the public and the arresting officers during the car chase.
Masri’s lawyer asked the court to suffice with time already served, pointing to Masri’s difficult upbringing, poor financial situation and poor health as justifications for leniency. Masri lost all the fingers of his right hand at the end of 2009, claiming he lost them sweeping away a hand grenade thrown at his brother.
Judge Yehudit Amsterdam wrote in her ruling that the lower courts have been asked repeatedly by the High Court to lend a hand in ending the phenomenon of car chases by handing down harsh and deterring sentences.
“Despite his personal injury, the accused did not learn a lesson and was not wary of harming others, taking the wheel while under the influence of alcohol and endangering others with his reckless driving. It is the court’s obligation to make sure he doesn’t repeat similar offenses,” wrote the judge.