Two 15-year-old cousins from Umm al-Fahm were killed and another youth, the driver, was injured in a car crash early Thursday morning. The driver, who is in light to moderate condition, drove the car into a truck while fleeing from the police at high speed.
The youths were in a Mazda driving inside the northern city of Umm al-Fahm when police signaled them to pull over. Instead they hit the police car and the policeman standing alongside the patrol car. The policeman was lightly injured and the boys fled the scene.
The three fled at high speed through the narrow streets of the city and then ran into a tow truck on the side of the road. Two of the passengers, Abadah Jabarin and Anas Jabarin, were killed by the impact. One was sitting next to the driver and the other was in the back seat. The injured driver was evacuated to Haemek Hospital in Afula.
Local residents said they saw the police chasing the fleeing car. But the spokesperson for the police's Coastal District denied this outright, saying the boys had tried to flee before hitting the tow truck, and that the police never gave chase.
Umm al-Fahm residents have complained in the past about young people driving without licenses as well as trucks parked on local streets.
Police procedures on giving chase in such cases, particularly when the police involved are volunteers, has drawn heavy criticism in the past. In December 2011, a young man from Kfar Sava was killed in a traffic accident in the city in similar circumstances, during a police chase conducted by police volunteers who acted without authority and chased after the car. The driver did not stop at a police checkpoint for a routine license check and the police gave chase. After a pursuit that continued for several kilometers, the driver tried to make a sharp turn at high speed and lost control of the car. The car then flipped over and rolled down the street. Eden Musai, 18, a passenger in the car, was killed. The driver, Or Harush, was seriously injured.
As part of police procedures for giving chase, officers are allowed to cross intersections even if the light is red and ignore traffic laws to stop a fleeing vehicle, while at the same time protecting innocent bystanders.
But in the Kfar Sava case, despite the police and volunteers' denials that they gave chase, a number of witnesses came forward and said they saw the volunteers chasing the car at high speed – and d