A 19-year-old car thief was killed early Monday as he attempted to get away from pursuing police – driving in the wrong direction on the busy Coastal Road (Highway #2). The smashup between the driver, who was behind the wheel of a stolen car, and an oncoming truck occurred at an interchange north of Netanya. Rescue workers found the driver pinned inside the vehicle, already dead. Two people in the other vehicle were lightly injured, rescue workers said.
Police said they were pursuing the driver because he had been driving in Netanya in a dangerous manner, including driving wildly, on sidewalks, passing red lights, and at high speeds in residential areas. He entered the highway on the wrong side, and tried to dodge vehicles that were driving in the right direction. Police closed off the highway as they pursued the driver, but vehicles already on the road kept driving.
After the accident, police kept the highway closed for several hours, as they cleaned up the road and removed the vehicles involved. Police said they were investigating the circumstances of the incident. The driver of the vehicle, whose name has not yet been released, was the 126th killed in road incidents in Israel so far this year.
In a separate incident, police on Monday morning arrested a 31-year-old Arab driver who was behind the wheel of a semi-trailer – but was not licensed to drive even a private vehicle. The driver was stopped on Highway #1, near the Shoresh Junction on the way out of Yerushalayim. The driver is a resident of an Arab neighborhood of Yerushalayim. Police checked his paperwork, and discovered that the last time he had held a valid license was in 2008. He has been caught five times driving without a license, and was summoned to traffic court five times – but did not attend even one session.
The driver was arrested, and will be held while police prepare a criminal case against him. The truck was confiscated. Police called the driver a “ticking time bomb on the road,” and stressed that “driving a truck with a heavy load requires special skill, and special licenses. Driving such a vehicle without a license is a serious offense, endangering the public and the driver himself. We will continue to aggressively pursue drivers such as this and get them off the road.”