Hit-and-run Motorist Had Record of Driving Without License

The motorist in a hit-and-run accident Sunday night in the Galilee that took the life of a 3-month-old infant had been arrested twice before for driving without a license. In both cases, the driver received only suspended sentences.

Ahmed Yassin, 25, of Tamra, was first taken into custody for traffic-related offenses in 2001, while still a minor, and then again in 2006. In both instances he was sentenced to two-year suspended sentences and prohibited from carrying a driver's license for two months, even though he had not taken out a license in the first place.

Yassin appeared in court again yesterday, this time after driving without a license, allegedly while intoxicated.

Witnesses said he had been driving a BMW sedan with a friend in the passenger seat. Near Tamra Junction, they said, he lost control of the vehicle, striking a car from behind that was carrying four members of a single family.

The infant was killed instantly and his 4-year-old sister seriously injured, and their father and pregnant mother were both left in moderate condition. The surviving family members were admitted to Rambam Medical Center in Haifa for treatment.

Yassin and his friend fled the scene on foot. Majid Hijazi, the attorney representing Yassin, said his client has admitted being under the influence of alcohol and cannot remember the circumstances of the accident. "He still hasn't digested what has happened, and he's stunned by the results of this accident," he said.

Yesterday a judge at Acre Magistrate's Court extended the remands of Yassin and the passenger until Sunday. The car owner was also sentenced to five days in detention.

A similar accident occurred six weeks ago in the Western Galilee village of Yassif. There, a 19-year-old resident of nearby Yarka driving under the influence of alcohol and without a license veered from his traffic lane, killing three people.