The operator of a crane that crashed down on a vehicle in Kfar Sava Sunday, killing 52-year-old Neta Rutman, may have been using narcotics at the time he was working with the crane, police said Monday. Narcotics were found on him when he was arrested after the incident Sunday. Police plan to ask for an extension of his remand in court Monday, and are considering charging him with negligent homicide.
Yediot Acharonot reported Monday that the crane had been inspected and approved for operation just two weeks ago – but that it was some 40 years old, built in 1974. According to attorneys for the company that owns the crane, a second inspection was conducted just last week, and again the crane was found to be safe to operate. The attorneys, who at this time are also defending the crane operator, said that the crash appeared to be due to a technical problem unrelated to the actions of the operator.
Rutman, a resident of Kiryat Ono, was visiting the industrial zone of Kfar Sava Sunday when the crane toppled onto her vehicle. A victim of disabilities herself, she was a chief adviser in one of Israel’s largest disabled advocacy groups. The crane toppled onto her vehicle, with parts of the crane falling on top of the roof and into the vehicle.
Rutman’s husband told Yediot Acharonot that he had spoken to his wife just a minute before the crane crashed down. “A minute after that conversation I got an alert that there was a problem with the vehicle,” said Alon Meori. “I tried to call her but couldn’t reach her, and then I saw the images with her vehicle.”