Police: Driver, Passenger Switched Places After Fatal T.A. Hit-and-run

Meital Aharonson was killed when driver ran red light near Rabin Square in Tel Aviv.

The Tel Aviv police hope to strengthen their case against the three suspects arrested in last weekend's hit-and-run accident in the city. Meital Aharonson was killed and her friend Mali Meiri Yazdi was critically injured in the incident.

The suspects in the case are Victor Lavi, the owner of the Land Cruiser SUV involved in the accident, and Shalom Yemini and Shai Simon.

Late Friday night Yemini and Simon fled in Lavi's vehicle from the Tel Aviv port after they were stopped for a police breathalyzer test. Lavi fled the scene and his friends sped off in his vehicle. A few minutes later they ran a red light near Rabin Square and hit Aharonson and Meiri Yazdi.

Yemini turned himself in to police on Monday after his photograph was made public, and he was remanded for nine days. Even before the arrest and questioning of Yemini, who previously served five years in prison for manslaughter, police surmised that Simon was driving the vehicle when the accident occurred. He was arrested at his Ramat Gan home over the weekend. But at Yemini's remand hearing Monday the police representative said he had not been ruled out as the driver.

Investigators now believe Simon and Yemini switched places when fleeing the police at the Tel Aviv Port, making it easier for the police to accuse both of murder. Yemini's attorney, Eli Cohen, said his client was not driving the vehicle when the victims were hit. This morning the police will request another extension of Lavi's remand.

National Police Commissioner David Cohen defended the police decision to stop the SUV to check the driver's alcohol levels, adding that the police intend to take measures to end drunken driving.