5 People, Including 2 Soldiers, Killed in Traffic Accidents

Five people were killed in traffic accidents in the past few days: two young men in a crash on the Ayalon Freeway, a man on Highway No. 66 in the Jezreel Valley, a woman walking along an upper Galilee road near Mount Meron, and a volunteer traffic policeman in the Arava.

In the Ayalon accident, which occured late Saturday night, the driver of an SUV with four passengers lost control of the vehicle near Rokah Boulevard and ran into the highway divider. The car turned over and burst into flames. Eye-witnesses reported that ambulances could not reach the burning vehicle for 30 minutes because of traffic that prevented them from getting through.

The victims were Miki Galin, 21, the Israel Defense Forces Spokesman's representative to the Civil Administration, and a friend, Bar Lichter, a combat soldier in the navy. The two, who were sitting in the back, were apparently not wearing seat belts. The two other occupants of the SUV, also soldiers, were moderately injured and were extricated from the vehicle by fire-fighters.

Among other things, police are investigating the possibility that the driver was under the influence of alcohol.

In the Jezreel Valley incident, yesterday morning, a Nazareth man, 46, was killed when he veered out of his lane between the Megiddo and Hatishbi junctions and collided head-on with a truck coming from the opposite direction. A good part of this road, which is used by a great many large trucks transporting goods from the Haifa port, has been upgraded in recent years, and now includes a divider. However, the 14-kilometer-long section of road where yesterday's accident occured, which is winding and has poor visibility, has seen 20 traffic fatalities in the last four years.

Hanan Erez, head of the Megiddo Regional Council, through which the road passes, has been fighting for years to widen this section and to install a divider there. "Today it was apparently a case of human error, but if there had been a divider with two lanes in each direction as required, this unfortunate event would not have occured," Erez said.

At the Ein Zeitim junction near Mount Meron, a 63-year-old woman from Beit Shemesh was crossing the road on her way to the Lag Ba'omer celebration at Shimon Bar Yochai's tomb when she was struck by a car.

The volunteer traffic policeman died Thursday after the patrol car in which he was riding overturned on the Arava road.