Spanish Journalist Convicted in Fatal Hit-and-run of Israeli Sentenced to Seven Years in Prison

Julio de la Guardia strikes plea bargain and is ordered to compensate family of 30-year-old pianist he killed after running a red light

An Israel Police car.
Ilan Assayag

A Spanish journalist who was convicted of killing a man in a hit-and-run accident in Jerusalem in September 2018 was sentenced Sunday to seven years in prison and a year of probation.

Under a plea bargain reached with the prosecution, Julio de la Guardia will pay compensation totaling 150,000 shekels ($42,000) to the family of Haim Tukachinsky.

Judge Rivka Friedman-Feldman suspended de la Guardia’s driver’s license in Israel for 15 years and ordered that he receive therapy while serving out his prison sentence in Israel.

The indictment issued in October included, in addition to the charges of manslaughter and abandoning the scene of a crime, also driving while under the influence, running a red light and speeding.

After an altercation with three motorcyclists, de la Guardia ran a red light at the intersection of King George and Ramban streets in downtown Jerusalem, hitting Tokachinsky in the crosswalk.

Tukachinsky died after he was hit and thrown a distance of about 30 meters. He was a 30-year-old pianist from an ultra-Orthodox family in Kiryat Motzkin, outside Haifa.

According to the indictment the driver didn’t stop to offer help or to call emergency services, but fled, continuing to drive until reaching a parking lot. He was found and arrested by the police about three hours later.