Police Turn to Public to Find Passenger in Hit-and-run; Driver Held for Manslaughter

The police yesterday asked the public for help in finding one of the passengers in the car involved in a deadly hit-and-run early Friday. Shalom Yemini of the Ramat Gan neighborhood of Ramat Amidar was once considered a member of the Ramat Amidar gang and was convicted 10 years ago of manslaughter.

Yesterday the court ordered the alleged driver of the car in the Tel Aviv hit-and-run held without bail for five days. Shai Simone, 27, is suspected of hitting Meital Ahronson and Mali Yizri, killing Ahronson and critically injuring Yizri. Simone allegedly left the women on the street and drove away. Simone is being held on charges of manslaughter; however, police and the prosecution are looking into charging him with murder.

On Friday, the owner of the car, Victor Lavi, was remanded without bail. Lavi was not in the car at the time of the accident, after being detained a few minutes earlier for a routine breathalyzer test by police in the Tel Aviv port.

Lavi, followed by Simone and Yemini, got out of the car, and allegedly became belligerent with the policewoman who wanted to administer the breath-alcohol test to Lavi, who had been driving. The officer later told a commanding officer that Yemini and Simone asked for the keys to the car so as to turn on the air conditioner. However, as soon as they got into the car, the pair drove off.

Lavi also tried to flee, but was apprehended by police in the area. Eight minutes later, the car, a 4-wheel drive, hit the two women at the corner of Ibn Gvirol and Zeitlin streets.

During yesterday's bail hearing, Simone's lawyer claimed that at that time of night "it takes an hour to an hour and a half to get from the port to Ibn Gvirol Street." He also said it is not clear Simone was at the wheel of the car.

Tel Aviv district police investigating the accident yesterday said that the traffic police who stopped the car at the port were not authorized to detain the car and the driver's companions. "Detaining a driver or his vehicle is only possible after the driver agrees to a breath-alcohol test while in this case, the driver refused," a police source said.