Drunk driver sentenced to 7.5 years for manslaughter

Naor Danino-Levy smashed van killing girlfriend instantly.

Court gavel justice judge legal law 311 (photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)
Court gavel justice judge legal law 311
(photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)
The Central District Court sentenced a Rehovot man to seven and a half years in prison on Sunday, a year and half after his drunk driving led to an accident in which his 23-year-old girlfriend was killed and two other people were injured.
Adi Peretz, 23, was killed when Naor Danino-Levy smashed their van into an oncoming car while trying to escape from police in May 2010.
Naor Danino-Levy, 26, was convicted under a plea bargain after admitting charges of manslaughter, willfully endangering life on a public highway, driving without a license and insurance and driving under the influence of alcohol.
The court also suspended Danino-Levy’s driving license for 15 years and ordered him to pay NIS 50,000 in compensation to his victim’s family.
The fatal accident occurred on May 19, 2010, after Danino- Levy and Peretz had spent time on the beach near Kibbutz Palmahim. At the time of the accident, Danino-Levy had been disqualified from holding a driver’s license for a drunk driving offense, and so it had been Peretz who drove the couple to the beach in a van they had rented from friends. However, when Peretz asked Danino-Levy to drive on the way home because she felt unwell, he agreed even though he had no driver’s license or insurance and was under the influence of alcohol.
The couple had not driven far when police officers in a patrol car became suspicious of Danino-Levy’s driving and gestured to him that he should pull over to the side of the road for a check.
However, Danino-Levy decided instead to try to evade the police check. He increased his speed but lost control of the van and drove for several hundred meters in the oncoming lane. At the last moment, he swerved to try to avoid an oncoming vehicle, but smashed into it, injuring the driver and her baby.
Peretz was killed instantly.
In sentencing Danino-Levy, Judge Varda Meroz said the crime he had committed was “one of the worst on our law books.”
“His decision to flee from the police officer sentenced his girlfriend, Adi, to death,” said the judge.
As is standard practice in criminal trials, as part of the sentencing arguments the victim’s family gave impact statements to the court in which they described the effect the accident has had on their lives.
Avi Peretz, the father of the young woman killed, asked the court to impose a stiff sentence on Danino-Levy. He said his daughter had been his “right-hand woman” in helping him run the family business, a garage that still bears her name. However, since Peretz’s death, “time stands still, the business has been frozen and I stopped working,” Avi Peretz told the court.
State lawyer Uri Ranitzky also asked the court to impose a harsh prison sentence on Danino-Levy, as well as a suspended sentence and compensation to Peretz’s family.
However, lawyer Elad Shor, defending, asked the court to take into account Danino- Levy’s background, noting the defendant had developed problems with alcohol and drugs after being subjected to neglect and abuse as a child, when he had been made to care for his two drug addicted parents.
The court’s decision to sentence Danino-Levy to a long prison term was also meant as a deterrent, the judge said.
However, the court also noted the defendant’s attempts to fight his substance addiction since the accident.