Police Reconstruct Fatal Hit-and-run

Police yesterday reconstructed the hit-and-run accident that killed Meital Aharonson in Tel Aviv on October 17. The 2 A.M. reconstruction took place just hours before the perpetrators' trial began in the Tel Aviv District Court yesterday morning.

The charges filed against Shalom Yemini and Shai Simon include manslaughter, abandoning an injured person, grievous bodily harm and drunk driving.

Aharonson, 27, of Tel Aviv, was killed after being hit by a Toyota Land Cruiser SUV at the corner of Ibn Gabirol and Zeitlin streets in Tel Aviv. Her friend Mali Yazdi was critically injured in the accident.

Police say that Yemini, who has a police record, was behind the wheel, while Simon was in the front passenger seat. The accident occurred minutes after the two men fled the Tel Aviv port district in an SUV owned by their friend, Victor Lavi, who had been detained by police for a breathalyzer test when he emerged from the district.

On Sunday, police examined the jeep in the laboratory of their national headquarters in Jerusalem, then returned the vehicle to Tel Aviv. It was later towed to the accident site, and Tel Aviv police detectives and traffic inspectors spent an hour reconstructing the crash. During this time, the thoroughfare was closed to traffic.

First, police put the jeep on Ibn Gabirol St. and started driving north. The officer in charge accelerated, ran a red light at the Ibn Gabirol-Zeitlin junction, and finally reached the pedestrian crossing where Aharonson and Yazdi had been crossing the street.

Police started a device that checks the friction between the car wheels and the road and then braked abruptly, to determine whether such a possibility existed at the instant Yemini noticed the two women, before he crashed into them.

The officer then continued speeding along the route that the defendants took. He turned right into David Hamelech Blvd., ran another red light and finally stopped in a nearby alley.

The indictment says that at this point, Yemini told Simon to move into the driver's seat and ordered him to wipe away any marks inside the jeep that could lead the police to him. He even threatened to kill Simon if he told anyone of Yemini's involvement in the accident.

The police repeated the reconstruction several times and documented their findings. An hour later, the jeep was towed back to the Tel Aviv Police warehouse and traffic resumed.

The defendants are also charged with running red lights and destroying evidence.