A 24-year-old tourist from Sweden was seriously injured Saturday when a jeep ran her over as she sunbathed on a Haifa beach. The tourist had been lying on the sand as an Israeli friend went for a swim.
The 34-year-old driver ran her over while driving in reverse. Bathers who saw him shouted at him to stop, but he panicked and shifted into forward drive - running over her again.
Tirat Hacarmel police chief Tuvia Yisrael told Haaretz that the man has dozens of prior driving violations. The driver, who lives in the Haifa suburb of Kiryat Haim, was detained by police and will be brought before a judge for arraignment today.
The tourist was rushed to hospital, suffering from a deep laceration to her scalp and fractured vertebrae. Sources from Haifa's Rambam Medical Center told Haaretz that she will be hospitalized and treated in the hospital's surgical department.
The accident occured at a non-declared bathing area, and therefore does not offer bathers constant supervision by law enforcement officers, Yisrael explained. Nonetheless, driving is prohibited within 100 meters of Israel's shores.
"We are responsible for a 11-kilometer long coastal strip," Yisrael says. "We can't place an officer every two meters to make sure no one is driving there."
Patrol officers do try to make sure no one is driving along the beach, he added.
Dror Ezrah, who heads the beach portfolio with the Green Party, said, "Police have been showing deadly ineptitude in enforcing the prohibition on driving along the shoreline."
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