Truck Driver in Deadly Crash May Have Been Going Twice Speed Limit

Funerals held for five members of Dahan family killed in accident.

Police suspect that the driver whose truck collided with a car Monday in the Arava, killing five members of the same family, was driving at twice the speed limit when approaching a curve, and lost control of his vehicle.

The driver, Mohammed al-Jabour, 24, of Rahat was remanded yesterday for three days by the Be'er Sheva Magistrate's Court.

The initial investigation reveals that Jabour was driving at 64 kilometers an hour on Route 25 in the Arava when approaching a curve on which heavy vehicles are supposed to maintain a maximum speed of 30 kilometers an hour. The speed limit elsewhere on that road is 80 kilometers an hour.

"He should not have been driving that fast, certainly not with a fully laden truck," an individual involved in the investigation told Haaretz.

At the remand hearing, police said eyewitnesses of the accident would give their testimony to police today. Jabour has been tested for intoxication and drug use, and the truck is being examined for a possible mechanical failure.

"The driver was questioned for several hours and presented a number of versions," a traffic officer in the southern district, Micha Abukasis, said. "We suspect him of negligence and, if we can prove it, negligent homicide."

Abukasis said police had doubts about Jabour's initial story that the glove compartment had opened and startled him, and were looking into the number of hours Jabour had been at the wheel and whether he had been talking on his cell phone or had fallen asleep.

According to witnesses, Abukasis said, Jabour had not been attempting to pass when the collision occured.

Jabour's attorney, Kamel Elzuadana, said his client does not use drugs or alcohol, was not driving fast or for more hours than allowed, and that something had fallen on him while he was driving. He added that Jabour "is still in shock and saying certain things because he is nervous."

Jabour's father, Sa'id, said his son was "a good boy who prays every day. We extend our sympathies to the family."