Witnesses to the fatal accident at the Givat Zev junction on Highway 443, which killed Tzipi Rimmel, 34, and her three-week-old infant, said that the Palestinian driver was speeding recklessly when he crashed into the Rimmel car and four other cars (in which the passengers were fortunately not hurt). The driver reportedly did not slow down when approaching the line of cars waiting at the red light at the intersection, crashing into them instead.
The driver of the car, Tariq Kurd, an 18-year-old resident of east Jerusalem, was moderately to severely injured in the accident and was evacuated to Hadassah Mount Scopus Hospital in Jerusalem, where he underwent an operation. When he regained full consciousness, he was questioned by the police who apprised him that he’s suspected of negligent homicide.
According to a Channel 12 News report on Sunday evening, the police investigation is being stymied by several factors, one of which is that they currently do not have any videos of the accident from security cameras or traffic light cameras. Also, despite witness reports that the driver was speeding, the exact speed he was driving is presently unknown.
A third factor hindering the investigation is that the driver received drugs, including painkillers and sedatives, at the hospital, which may make it impossible to know whether he was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the accident.
The police requested on Monday that the Jerusalem Traffic Court extend the arrest of Kurd for another seven days. During the hearing, it was clarified that Kurd has no criminal or traffic violation record, and due to this as well as his medical condition – the judge agreed to an extension of only four days rather than seven.
Kurd is suspected not only of negligent homicide but also of veering from his lane, failure to maintain a safe distance and speeding.
Kurd’s lawyer, Adv. Omar Marid said at the beginning of the hearing: “On behalf of the defendant’s family, they share in the grief of the families and they wish a speedy recovery to the injured.”
Marid also expressed his opposition to the continued detention of his client in the hospital, where he is handcuffed and banned from family visits.
Meanwhile, the father, Ephraim, 40, remains in serious condition a day later and a son, Itai, 12, remains in critical condition. Doctors in Shaare Zedek Hospital in Jerusalem report there is no improvement in their conditions Monday morning. Itai underwent abdominal surgery during the night and he remains in an intensive care unit in critical condition. Doctors report Itai sustained serious head injuries as well.
Please continue to say Tehillim for Ephraim Tzvi Moshe ben Shulamis Tzivya and his son Itai Yaakov ben Tziporah.
On Sunday YWN reported that Otzma Yehudit party officials called on police to investigate the accident, which they fear was a terrorist attack and not an innocent vehicular crash.
Police report the Palestinian driver, 18, was traveling at least 180KPH (108MPH) when he struck the family. He was transported to Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in Jerusalem and is listed in moderate-to-serious condition with injuries to his head and extremities.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)