Truck Driver in Fatal Nesher Crash Freed to House Arrest

'A sense of grief or frustration in the face of the harsh consequences [of the accident] do not constitute grounds for detention', says judge who releases Jamal Abu Siam.

Eli Ashkenazi
Eli Ashkenazi
Eli Ashkenazi
Eli Ashkenazi

A truck driver involved in a fatal crash near Nesher last week in which six people were killed was released to house arrest on Thursday by the Haifa District Court.

District Court Judge Amir Toubi upheld a previous ruling by the Haifa Magistrate’s Court allowing the driver − Jamal Abu Siam of Rahat, in the Negev − to be released to house arrest. The state had objected to Rahat’s release from custody, but Judge Toubi said he found no grounds to overturn the lower court’s decision. Six residents of the Galilee villages Dir al-Assad and Iksal were killed in the crash, which authorities believe was caused when Abu Siam’s truck went out of control. They have been identified as Riad Omar, 40, Dahash Amon, 17, Karim Dabbah, 18, and Abed al-Karim Dabbah, 18, all of Dir al-Assad; and Riad Darawshe, 40, and his nephew Ahmed Darawshe, 19, of Iksal. Fifteen others were injured.

The state had appealed the Magistrate Court’s decision to release Abu Siam to house arrest, arguing that doing so would enable the driver to interfere in the investigation. But Judge Toubi disagreed, noting that the truck driver had provided three detailed statements about the crash, and that he will be required to report to police if further questioning is required. Furthermore, concerns regarding the possibility of Abu Siam interfering in the investigation are not sufficient to justify his incarceration at this time, the judge said.

Judge Toubi reflected on the tragic circumstances of the accident and the fact that six people lost their lives. Nonetheless, he said, “a sense of grief or frustration in the face of the harsh consequences [of the accident] do not constitute grounds for [Abu Siam’s] detention or release.”

If the driver is convicted of criminal offenses as a result of the accident, then he will pay for his actions, the judge said.

Abu Siam.Credit: Rami Shlush

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