Ofakim Boy, 12, Clings to Life After Accident

Doctors at the intensive care unit at Soroka Medical Center in Be'er Sheva were forced yesterday to tell the adoptive father of 12-year-old Arik Ofer, seriously hurt in an Ofakim road accident yesterday, that the boy would most likely not survive his injuries.

"My son's wounds were serious and he was on a ventilator," the father said doctors told him. "They told me there was no chance he would survive. It's against all logic that a father should have to bury his son."

Ofer and a friend were riding their bicycles along a main street in the southern city when they were struck by a taxi. The boy's friend was moderately injured.

The taxi driver, Michael Levy, told police the children came into his line of vision suddenly.

The initial police investigation indicated that the two children were riding across a crosswalk on the city's Hatayasim Street. A vehicle had already stopped to let the children cross, but Levy's vehicle, traveling in the opposite direction, crashed into the two boys.

Police said the accident was caused by the taxi driver's failure to cede the right of way.

"The kids were just trying to cross the street at a crosswalk," said Ofer's father. "A car came speeding in and smashed into two youngsters whose only offense was that they had gone outside to play. I urge all drivers and all parents to obey the law and drive carefully, especially in populated areas. This could happen to anyone."

Levy said yesterday he wished the children a speedy recovery and was praying for their wellbeing.

"I'm sorry about what happened; it was unintentional. I realize they were hurt, but my household has been destroyed too," he said. "I'm the sole breadwinner, without a salary at the moment. I haven't had anything to eat or drink since the accident. It pains me. I haven't been able to go back to my routine - I need pills to get to sleep."