Hit-and-run Victim's Widow Calls on Public to Help Find Assailant

Truck driver Yehezkel Godi was killed while crossing a highway in the Sharon region.

The widow of a truck driver killed earlier this month in a hit-and-run accident asked for the public's help last night to find the person who struck her husband, leaving him to die in the middle of the highway.

Mazal Godi, the widow of Yehezkel Godi, attended a Sharon District Police briefing during which a similar appeal to the public for information about the crash was issued.

Godi's family believes that Traffic Police officers at the scene of the accident were partly responsible for it. The incident began as Godi was driving a truck loaded with oranges from his home on Moshav Kfar Yavetz, in the Sharon region. He stopped on the shoulder when a few pallets fell off the truck. According to an eyewitness, Traffic Police officers in a cruiser on the far side of the road called him over to speak to him and Godi was struck by a vehicle while crossing the highway.

"We know it was a dark-colored GMC Safari or Astro," the head of the investigation team, Ran Ben Simon said. At the briefing he showed the mirror that broke off the vehicle during the accident. Police are asking for anyone who knows someone who drives a vehicle fitting the description who recently had a side-view mirror replaced, or any auto-repair shop that recently sold or installed such a mirror, to come forward.

Mazal Godi and Yehezkel's brother, Shai, who also attended the briefing, pleaded for help from the public.

"I am begging, if someone knows anything they should go to the police in order to calm and quiet my wounded soul," Mazal said at the briefing. She also appealed to the unknown driver, saying, "If he wants to quiet his conscience he should turn himself in to the police."

Relatives, as well as Sharon District Police officials, declined to comment Thursday on accusations of negligence against the officers at the scene of the accident.

'His death could have been prevented'

"In our view, it is absolutely clear that Yehezkel's death could have been prevented," a member of Godi's family told Haaretz earlier this week. "The two Traffic Police officers are responsible for his death. Why on earth did they have to call him over to their vehicle?"

The relative said the family intended to sue the officers for negligence.

The officers told Traffic Police investigators that they did not speak to Godi. They said they were closing off the highway to prevent any passing vehicles from hitting him or his truck.

A spokesperson for the Israel Police's Traffic Department, Superintendent Doron Ben-Amo, said an investigation by the commander of the Central District traffic department cleared the officers of any wrongdoing and confirmed that Godi was hit while they were closing the road.

According to the findings of the investigation, the police officers initially thought that the passing vehicle had struck an orange crate; it was only when they neared the site of the accident that they saw Godi lying on the highway.

"The instant they realized what had happened," Ben-Amo said, "they approached the truck driver in order to administer first aid to his injuries. They called for a Magen David Adom ambulance and notified all police vehicles in the area to try to locate the driver of the hit-and-run vehicle."