Unlicensed Driver Kills Two Pedestrians in Haifa Suburb

Two pedestrians were run over and killed yesterday in Haifa's Kiryat Shmuel neighborhood as they were crossing the street in a crosswalk.

Police later discovered that the driver, a 23-year-old woman, had her license revoked in February. Moreover, she had been ordered to deposit the license with the court, but had never done so.

Additionally, when she was taken to Haifa's Ramban Medical Center for treatment after the accident, a blood test found traces of heroin and cocaine in her blood, as well as the drug substitute methadone. Nevertheless, it is not yet clear whether she was under the influence of drugs while driving, as the drugs could have been taken several days earlier.

Police also suspect that the woman, whom they arrested, may have run a red light.

The accident occurred at about 11 A.M., when Olga Grisamov, 54, of Kiryat Motzkin and her friend Ella Nisanov, 61, of Haifa were on their way to the Government Employment Office with the hope of finding work. Both were unemployed.

As they were crossing Jerusalem Boulevard, using the crosswalk, a private car suddenly barreled up the road, crashed into a street sign and ran the two women over.

The car overturned, but the driver herself was only lightly injured, suffering bruises and abrasions. After the rescue services extracted her from the car, police said that she went wild and even slapped a policeman. An eyewitness described the woman as "disconnected and clearly out of it."

Chezki Farkash of the ZAKA rescue service, who was one of the first to arrive at the crash site, said that when he reached the scene "the victims were already dead. The driver smashed with great force into the two female pedestrians, who had been following all the safety rules."

Police also believe that the women were following the traffic laws, but still plan to investigate whether it might not have been them, rather than the suspect, who crossed the road on a red light.

The suspect was driving her spouse's car. He informed police that when he lent the vehicle to her he was not aware that her license had been revoked due to administrative violations.

Police plan to ask a court today to extend the woman's remand. She is being held on suspicion of manslaughter.

Her attorney, Yossi Torres of the Public Defender's Office, said he went to visit her in the hospital last night, but she was in bad shape both physically and emotionally, and he was unable to make sense of what she told him.

Orit Gabbay, a neighbor of Nisanov's, said that Nisanov shared an apartment with her son and aunt.

"She was a wonderful, modest woman," Gabbay said. "She cared for her aunt as if she were her mother. She and Olga [Grisamov] were always together. They were good friends, in life and in death."