Police close in on Carmiel hit-and-run driver
Three-year-old in stable condition after struck at crosswalk, dragged 50 meters
Two white Mazda sedans suspected of having been involved in a hit-and-run Monday evening in Carmiel were examined yesterday by police. Shimon Malka, 3, of Haifa, was seriously injured in the accident and is currently in the intensive care unit of Rambam Medical Center.
A senior Galilee traffic police officer, Eitan Raz, told Haaretz yesterday that the two vehicles were confiscated so that they could be examined thoroughly, adding the possibility that some car parts will be removed for further analysis.
The owner of one of the vehicles, a 24-year-old resident of Carmiel, was detained for questioning several hours after the accident, but was released under restrictions after he denied any involvement. The driver of the other vehicle has not yet been found.
The accident occurred on Monday at around 7 P.M. when the toddler, accompanied by his 12-year-old cousin and two sisters, was crossing the street on a crosswalk. A car passing by apparently hit him, dragged him some 50 meters and left the scene, with Malka bleeding.
Police and emergency services rushed to the scene and reports of the accident were sent out. Traffic police set up roadblocks along a radius of several kilometers from the site to try and locate the driver and the vehicle.
One medic, Adi Kahani, said the toddler suffered injuries along all parts of his body, as well as fractures and cuts. Malka was anesthetized and placed on oxygen as he was evacuated by helicopter to hospital.
The child's condition has been described as stable and moderate, despite suffering numerous fractures. No brain or internal organ injuries were reported, however.
"We just received a gift from God. A huge miracle," the victim's father Michael said. The family was spending the week in Carmiel, where Michael Malka is the city's rabbi.
"On the way back from the park, my niece and children were crossing the street," Michael Malka said. "My niece took them by the hand. Shimon apparently loosened his grip and walked a few steps ahead. The vehicle was rushing by and hit him. My niece said the car threw him up in the air."
"I hope they arrest the person responsible for the accident. This phenomenon of hit-and-run accidents are very upsetting, and unfortunately there are people who cross the line," Malka said. "I can understand that a driver would flee because of the trauma, but he needs to pull himself together and return to the scene."