Soldier Convicted of Killing Two Friends in Car Crash

A soldier from Atlit was convicted of manslaughter yesterday for killing two of his friends in a car accident two years ago.

The Haifa District Court said the version of events presented by Almog Buchbut, 19, was full of lies, and that his behavior of the road was "highly negligent."

After the verdict, relatives of the deceased shouted at him, "you didn't even ask forgiveness!"

The accident occurred in November 2007 on the outskirts of Haifa. Buchbut was driving his car and two friends, Yossi Benaim and Sahar Asraf, were sitting in the back seat. The verdict stated that Buchbut was not accompanied by a more experienced driver, as required by law, and that the passengers were not wearing seatbelts.

Shortly before the crash, the verdict said, Buchbut was seen passing another vehicle at a speed much higher the legal limit of 100 kilometers per hour, and then driving at about 90 kph in a 60-kph zone. At some point, he drew too near an Audi driving on the same road and began zigzagging between the Audi and another vehicle, a Skoda. He then slammed into the Audi, sending both vehicles into a spin, and crashed into the road's crash barrier. His two passengers were killed on the spot.

"The least you could do is not to show up in uniform!" Etti Benaim, Yossi Benaim's mother, shouted at Buchbut during the hearing.

Benaim welcomed the verdict, saying she hoped it would deter other careless drivers and thereby spare other families her ordeal.