Egged Executives Suspected of Negligent Homicide in Bus Crash

Investigators figure Egged officials knew driver Biton was a risk before he got six passengers killed.

Paramedics helping the injured at the scene of the Feb. 14, 2016 bus crash on Route 1.
Gil Cohen Magen

Four senior executives at the Egged bus company have been questioned under caution in recent days on suspicion of negligent homicide in the case of the accident two weeks ago on Route 1, in which six people were killed.

The four are suspected of being aware that the driver, Haim Biton, had been involved in other accidents and in negligent driving, but let him keep driving and did not disciplinary action. They are also suspected of knowing of passenger complaints about Biton’s conduct, and doing nothing about them.

The executives in question are the safety officer for Jerusalem, the human resources manager for Jerusalem, the regional manager for Jerusalem and the manager of the Egged insurance office. Additional Egged executives are expected to be questioned in the coming days.

Two weeks ago, Biton was arrested for negligent homicide after he became distracted while driving and crashed the No. 402 bus into a truck that had stopped on the side of the road, police said, basing themselves on the initial investigation of the accident. At a Traffic Court hearing in Jerusalem, police representative Moshe Cohen said Biton is also suspected of disruption of legal proceedings because after the collision, he removed the recording disk from the bus’ tachograph (“black box”), the device that documents the vehicle’s speed and distance and the driver’s activity.

Biton had been involved in a similar accident in 2013, the court learned. Then too, he had been driving a No. 402 bus, and crashed into a truck parked on the shoulder of the road, just a few kilometers from the site of the accident two weeks ago. Eighteen people suffered mild injuries in the earlier crash.

In addition to the six people killed in the accident two weeks ago, 12 other passengers were injured.

one seriously. The deceased are Yaakov Cheshin, 27; Yisrael Weinberg, 26; Aharon Mordechai Cohen, 18; Leah Malamud, 50 and Chana Pesha Frenkel, 23, all of Jerusalem, and Levi Yitzhak Amdadi, 17, of Yavniel.