Haim Biton, the bus driver who was involved in the fatal road accident on route 1, the major highway connecting Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, was arrested early Monday morning on suspicion of negligent homicide. Shortly thereafter it turned out that he had been involved in a similar accident in the past.
The six victims who are being buried on Monday are all from the ultra-Orthodox community, which has been struck with deep mourning (source: Kikar Hashabbat): Jacob Meyer Cheshin, 27, a Breslaver kolel student from me’ah She’arim, Jerusalem; Israel Weinberg, 26, a Slonim student from Jerusalem; Aharon Mordechai Cohen, 18, a Bobover student from B’nei B’rak; Levi Yitzhak Amdadi, 17, son of an important Breslav Rabbi from Yavniel; Leah Malmud, 60, Jerusalem, daughter of Rabbi Yehoshua Grozinskaya, Rosh Yeshiva of Bialystok; Hannah Pesha Frankel, 23, daughter of the Biala Ostrovitze Rebbe and daughter-in-law of the Rebbe of Botoșani.
Biton himself was lightly injured in the accident that involved a truck and which resulted in six passengers dead and about a dozen injured. Police picked him up at the Assaf Harofeh Hospital in Be’er Ya’akov and the Jerusalem Traffic Court remanded him to jail for three days. During the court hearing it turned out that Biton is also suspected of obstruction of justice. The truck driver, an Arab resident of eastern Jerusalem, 40, was detained for an interrogation and released.
On Sunday around 6:30 PM Egged 402 bus line on its way from B’nei B’rak to Jerusalem, ran into a truck near an interchange connecting Route 1 with Route 431. Dozens of MDA ambulances, mobile intensive care units and MDA mass casualty incident stations took care of the injured, while five firefighter teams labored to release the injured. Police has established a special investigative team for the case.
A few hours after the 402 line accident, Israel’s Channel 2 News revealed that the bus driver, Biton, had been in a similar accident in the past, also involving a truck. According to the report, that accident also took place at a curve in Route 1, near Moshav Shoresh. Following that accident, the bus company Egged decided to restrict him to city routes only. But recently the company decided to put him back on highway routes and added him to the 402 schedule.
According to the same report, several passengers said that Biton was not focused and committed several traffic violations on Sunday, including speeding and failing to keep sufficient distance from the cars in front of him.
Early police investigation suggests the truck was parked on the shoulder of the highway after its gear had sprung an oil leak. Shortly afterwards, the bus appeared around the curve in the road, veered from its lane and ran into the left side of stationary truck.
Police initially suspected a terrorist involvement in the accident, but after interviewing both drivers quickly concluded it was simply a case of negligence on the part of the bus driver.
Many have been including the injured in their prayers for their quick recovery (source: The Muqata)
Sara bat Dina (who is fighting for her life) Bracha bat Dina Nurit bat Monique Chaya Avigal bat Alice Esther bat Simcha Menashe ben Naima Simcha Edna bat Jaquline Yosef ben Sarah