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Spanish Journalist Gets 7 Years For Hit & Run Which Killed Chareidi Pianist Chaim Tukachinsky Z”L

Julio Del La Guardia, the Spanish journalist who killed Jerusalem pianist Chaim Tukachinsky in a hit-and-run accident last year, was sentenced to seven years imprisonment by the Jerusalem District Court on Sunday.

Tukachinsky, a 30-year-old Chareidi pianist, composer and conductor, was on his way home from davening at the Kosel on the first night of Sukkos when he was fatally struck by Del La Guardia’s car which sped through a red light by Jerusalem’s Paris Square. Del La Guardia, who was later found to have been driving while intoxicated, failed to stop his car or call emergency medical services.

De La Guardia was convicted in June of manslaughter, driving under the influence of alcohol, leaving the scene of the accident, crossing through a red light and driving over the speed limit. The charge of manslaughter was reduced to reckless manslaughter in a plea bargain. He also received 12 months of probation and must pay NIS 50,000 ($14,200) in compensation to Tukachinsky’s mother and NIS 100,000 ($28,400) to his sisters.

De La Guardia apologized to Tukachinsky’s family, according to a Ynet report, saying that: “I told the family: I’m sorry. No prison sentence or financial compensation can compensate for the loss. I never committed a crime before and the question is whether a person should be judged for five minutes or his entire life.”

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According to the conviction, De La Guardia drank alcohol by a friend’s house on the night of the accident. On his way home, he passed three Arab motorcyclists who he claimed cursed at him and banged his car. De La Guardia continued to drive and increased his speed when one of the Arab motorcyclists chased after him. He crossed through a red light, failing to notice Tukachinsky crossing the street, and hit him.

Although De La Guardia witnessed Tukachinsky falling on the sidewalk, he didn’t stop his car and call for help. However, he said later that he did stop his car a bit further from the accident but left when passerby approached him, afraid that they would attack him. He approached a police car a couple of hours later, telling the police officers that they were probably looking for him. He was arrested and his blood alcohol was three times the legal limit for driving.

Tukachinsky was the son of a Kiryat Motzkin Chareidi family who immigrated to Israel from the former Soviet Union. He was a prodigy, having begun his musical career in the Kiryat Motzkin music conservatory. He was also a graduate of the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance, in both piano and composition and a winner of the America-Israel Cultural Foundation (AICM) award for the years 2007-2009.

Chaim’s mother, Yael Tukichinsky told B’Chadrei Chareidim after his death that Chaim used to live in Geula but moved to Yaffo Street to be closer to the Kosel, where he davened every morning and night. Yael explained that “he had a special connection to the Kosel.”

Following De La Guardia’s sentence, Yael Tukashinsky told Walla! that “thoughts about Chaim don’t leave me for even a minute. Today is no different than any other day. Everything reminds me of him. The first Pesach we went through without Chaim. His chair is empty on Shabbatot. He doesn’t come home. I don’t need a reminder. Every evening he would call me on Skype after his performances. That’s the time that’s hardest for me now – when he doesn’t call – it’s a daily reminder.”

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)

3 Responses

  1. “I never committed a crime before and the question is whether a person should be judged for five minutes or his entire life.”

    The answer to his question is you are judged for everything; we know that, especially at this time of the year. He killed a man, destroyed a family, deprived the world of incredible talent, and yes…. there are consequences. 7 years isn’t enough. So tell me… when will he be deported to Spain to enjoy HIS life??

  2. i knew chaim tikuchinsky for many years. he used to practice at the kiryat motzkin conservetory where i studied violin with my teacher. chaim’s sister , sarah was also one of her violin students.
    chaim filled the conservetory with his haunting and beautiful music.
    chaim was a very elevated high and lofty soul.
    the loss is tremendous. we lost a precious holy neshamah and an extrodinary musician.
    chiam lived a life of ruchnius and music. that was his entire being.
    a sefer Torah is being written lilui nishmaso.
    whoever wants to donate can contact the family.
    תהיה נשמתו צרורה בצרור החייםץ

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