Soldier Who Crashed Car Under Influence Guilty of Manslaughter

A 20-year-old IDF soldier was convicted yesterday of manslaughter by the Haifa District Court, having been found guilty of causing the death of a 15-year-old in a car crash there last year. The court also convicted the soldier, Noy Kalderon, of driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol, running a red light, speeding and causing serious injury. The verdict said Kalderon's testimony was fraught with contradiction, and that he was lying in an attempt to distance himself from blame.

The accident took place in the early morning of January 11, 2008, when Kalderon was driving with his ex-girlfriend, May Ziv, in the front seat, and 15-year-old Lidor Ze'ev in the back seat. The verdict says Kalderon began driving down Pika Street, crossed the Hanetke-Pica intersection, and sped up to 90 kilometers per hour, with Ziv shouting for him to stop.

When they reached the intersection of Pica and Harel streets, where the light was red, Kalderon asked his passengers whether they wanted to drive through anyway, and then continued, losing control of the vehicle, crashing into the next streetlight, and eventually hitting a wall. Ze'ev was killed and Ziv and Kalderon were injured.

Police found traces of drugs in Kalderon's blood, as well as alcohol above the legal limit. Kalderon denied using drugs, said he did not drink alcohol beyond quantities allowed by law, and claimed the accident was caused by a Hyundai vehicle crashing into him.

The judge slammed "clumsy" police work, after investigators mistakenly preserved footage from the wrong streetlight camera, which did not cover the actual scene of the accident. The footage from all other cameras were erased a short while later. However, the judge said other evidence in the case allowed Kalderon's conviction without reasonable doubt.