Woman in Wheelchair Dies After Hit by Van

Traffic accidents claimed the lives of two people yesterday, including Miri Balontin, 85, who was sitting in a wheelchair with other wheelchair-bound residents of a nearby nursing home in Petah Tikva. A van ran onto the sidewalk, struck a bench and dragged it to where Balontin was sitting. It struck her and she was killed and another woman there was seriously injured while a third was slightly hurt.

The 69-year-old driver of the van, who was also slightly injured and hospitalized, said the car had accelerated on its own. His blood alcohol level was checked.

The second fatality occurred when a National Highway Company tractor driver struck and killed a co-worker on the highway near Netanya. The driver said he did not see the other man, who was behind the tractor. The victim, 52, was from Shfar'am in the Galilee.

In the Petah Tikva mishap, the families of the injured said their caregivers were also present, but they fled the scene for fear the police would arrive and question them.

Near Kibbutz Yakum, south of Netanya, a woman swerved out of her lane, blocking a truck approaching from behind, which then swerved onto the shoulder of the road, hit other vehicles and fell into a ditch, injuring one person moderately and two slightly.