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A man whose reckless driving caused the death of three people in a traffic accident was sentenced yesterday to three years in prison and a NIS 36,000 fine, as well as being stripped of his license for 40 years.

According to the Netanya Traffic Court's verdict, Yonatan Subinsky, 24, of Beit Dagan, was driving under the influence of drugs on May 14, 2006. At the entrance to Moshav Nir Dror, he swerved out of his lane and crashed into a car driving in the opposite lane. Three people in the other car - Liran Batya, 28; his cousin Ro'i Batya, 28; and Ro'i's common-law spouse, Karen Morawati, 26 - were killed, while a fourth, Liran's common-law spouse, was seriously wounded.

In his sentencing decision, Judge Yehoshua Halevy slammed the defense attorney's argument that Subinsky was a "normative" fellow. "How can you relate to a man who uses drugs and then drives a car as normative?" he demanded. "Drugs are a cursed and cancerous plague, and [under their influence], the defendant turned an instrument of work and entertainment into one of destruction and death."

After the victims' families protested that the sentence was too light, the prosecution promised to study the decision and consider appealing it.

Yigal Hai adds: A 70-year-old man was killed yesterday at Kfar Sava Junction East after the car he was driving collided with another vehicle at around 5 P.M. A Magen David Adom ambulance pronounced him dead at the scene. The driver of the other car sustained serious injuries. She was rushed to Beilinson hospital in critical condition.