Family of four run down on Israeli street; children in serious condition, father critical

The driver’s lawyer claims the driver, who had been drinking, wouldn’t cooperate with police because he’s “suffering severe trauma from the accident.”

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

The court extended the remand Sunday of a driver who struck and badly injured a family of four in Kiryat Gat on Saturday morning.

In an initial test of the suspect, a 21-year-old Ethiopian-Israeli, the level of alcohol in his blood was four times the allowed amount. Following his arrest, he refused to cooperate with the authorities. The police then requested to keep him in jail for seven more days, but the court only agreed to four.

According to a report in Israel Hayom, his lawyer, Chaim Abergil, said the reason the driver didn’t talk was because he “is suffering severe trauma from the accident, that’s why he couldn’t give [them] an orderly version” of what happened.

The Yalamor family was heading to the park with their five- and seven-year-old daughters. They had just finished crossing a traffic circle in one of main streets of the city and didn’t see the car approaching at all, said the mother, Gabayo, speaking to Ynet from her hospital bed.

“He suddenly plowed into us,” she said. “He was drunk and stank. I told him to at least help me extricate one of the girls, who was trapped beneath a wheel. How can a person take such a big car and destroy a family?”

The family was taken to Soroka Hospital in Beersheba. Gabayo was moderately hurt but her daughters are in serious condition. Her husband suffered a multi-system injury and is in critical condition. All three are being treated in the intensive care unit.

One eyewitness told Israel Hayom that the driver hadn’t slowed down at the traffic circle. Another reported that he apologized to the mother after hitting them on the sidewalk, saying that he hadn’t done it on purpose and that he hadn’t noticed them.

There was also a young woman in the car with the drunk driver, who briefly came over to the family after the accident. “She gave me a hug and said, ‘Calm down, calm down,’” said Gabayo. “[Then] she ran away.”

Police are currently searching for the woman.