Truck strikes eight cars in Haifa, killing six

Truck driving downhill strikes a number of cars and pedestrians before flipping over and catching fire.

Magen David Adom ambulances 311 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Magen David Adom ambulances 311
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Six people were killed and 16 were injured, including two seriously, when a trailer truck careened out of control and smashed into eight cars on Bar-Yehuda Street between Nesher and Haifa on Wednesday afternoon.
The horrific accident left even veteran paramedics shocked.
The full trailer truck smashed through all eight cars and continued through the junction, only coming to a stop when it smashed into the gate of a military base at the bottom of the hill.
Magen David Adom went to a “mass casualties event” response level, dispatching 29 ambulances and eight emergency care vehicles, along with dozens of paramedics.
“The scene looked like a terror attack,” MDA paramedic Avner Kogen said. “The cars that had been hit and the injured people were spread across a 100-meter radius, and many of the injured were still trapped inside their cars.”
Another MDA paramedic, Carmel subdistrict head Shimon Biton, said it was “a catastrophe, it looked like a war, with cars that had burned and flipped over all around the junction. It’s just impossible to grasp.”
MDA said that all of the 16 injured were evacuated to hospitals in the Haifa area, with two in serious condition, four moderately hurt, and the rest lightly injured.
Israel Police national spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the investigation had determined that the truck’s brakes had failed as it was going down the decline. He added that witnesses had reported that at least one of its tires caught fire.
Rosenfeld said that the driver, a 30-year-old Rahat man, was among those hospitalized and that police were questioning him.
Traffic Police investigators suspect the truck was carrying a load over the limit allowed by law.
The driver has 16 traffic citations, which police said was not an especially high number and had not caused him to lose his license. A Traffic Police investigator said that as of 9:30 p.m. Wednesday he was undergoing treatment and they had not been able to question him fully.
The Haifa Magistrate's Court issued a seven-day extension Thursday on the driver's remand.
The Road Safety Authority said heavy work trucks such as the one involved in Wednesday’s accident were six times as likely as private vehicles to be involved in accidents.
Thirteen people people had been killed in accidents with such trucks since the start of the year, and in 2012, 41 people were killed in accidents involving such vehicles, the authority said.
The authority said it had appointed a committee to “thoroughly examine the factors that led directly and indirectly to the deadly truck accident.”
The committee would also examine the safety of large trucks on Israeli roads, it said.