A woman was sentenced to four years in prison yesterday and her driving license was revoked for 15 years, after being convicted of killing three of her friends in a traffic accident. She was also convicted of drunk driving and causing grievous injury.
The accident took place in November 2008, some two weeks after the woman had received a driving license, after a night out, in which she had drunk alcohol.
On the night of the accident, the woman, whose name was banned from publication because she was a minor at the time, went out with her girlfriends to a Tel Aviv pub. They took a taxi to the pub and intended to take one home, but in Tel Aviv the woman met a relative and decided to go home in his car, with his friends.
At first the relative drove, but when his friends criticized his driving she replaced him behind the wheel. While she was driving she swerved to the opposite lane and crashed head-on into a station wagon. Her relative and two of his friends were killed, while the woman and a third friend, as well as the station wagon's driver, were injured.
A blood sample taken from the woman showed her alcohol level was higher than permitted.
"Every day we are exposed to traffic accidents, each more horrible than the next," Petah Tikva District Court Judge Zahava Bustan wrote in her verdict. "It is incumbent upon us to fight this disease. The court's contribution is in a message of deterrence and uncompromising penalization."
The judge said the woman should not have driven for several reasons. As a new driver, she was prohibited from driving without an adult escort and with more than two passengers in the car; she should not have driven after drinking alcohol or at such a late hour, before dawn. In addition, her relative was in no fit condition to serve as an adult escort.
On the other hand, at the time the woman drank alcohol she did not intend to drive. This should be taken into consideration, the judge wrote, as well as her young age, her record, the guilt she feels and her injury, which required physical and mental rehabilitation.
The judge also said the considerations for sentencing should be close or identical to those a juvenile court would have made, as the law stipulating that a juvenile under 18 at the time of indictment be tried in juvenile court was enacted shortly after the woman was indicted.
The woman, who was also sentenced to two years on probation, will start serving her sentence on August 1 at her attorney's request.
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