The bus driver involved in Sunday’s deadly collision on Highway 1 crashed on the same route in 2013, also smashing into a truck and overturning the vehicle on the main Jerusalem-Tel Aviv artery.
Six died and a dozen were injured in Sunday evening’s collision between the crowded intercity bus 402 and a truck near the city of Ramle.
Several passengers were injured in the bus driver’s previous incident, and as a result the Egged bus company banned him from intercity routes.
The ban was only lifted a few weeks ago and he was permitted to drive the Jerusalem to Tel Aviv line once again, Channel 2 reported.
The bus driver told police Sunday that he didn’t notice the truck stopped on the side of the highway, and investigators believe the bus driver’s inattention to traffic caused him to swerve out of his lane and collide with the truck parked on the side of the road.
Photos of the collision showed the right side of the bus wrenched apart. Channel 2 reported that the truck’s crane ripped the bus open, injuring and killing passengers seated on the right side.
The truck driver told police investigators he heard noises coming from his engine, so he had stopped on the right shoulder of the highway. “Just as I got out of the truck, the same minute, the bus came and slammed into the rear end.”
The driver of the truck, an East Jerusalem native, suffered light injuries and was detained by police. The bus driver was later held for questioning as well.
The bus was the 402 line from Jerusalem to Bnei Brak. It was filled to capacity with passengers, according to Channel 2.
A regular passenger on the 402 line who was familiar with the driver said he was often reckless and claimed he frequently broke safety codes. The passenger cited excessive speed, a failure to maintain a safe distance from other vehicles, and a failure to stay focused on the road. The passenger told Channel 2 that an accident like Sunday’s was merely a matter of time.
Yaakov Hashin, 27, Yisrael Weinberg, 26, Haya Frankel, 23, and Levi Yitzhak Amdadi, 17, were named as four of the fatalities.
Hashin, a young ultra-Orthodox man, was on his way to a match-making date in Bnei Brak, Walla news reported. Weinberg was heading to a family wedding in the same city. Frankel and her husband just celebrated their second wedding anniversary; her husband was also aboard and was lightly injured in the accident. All three were residents of Jerusalem. Amdadi was from the town of Yavne’el, near the Sea of Galilee.
The names of the other two victims were not immediately released for publication. They were reportedly children.
Sara Shpringer, 20, of Jerusalem, remained in serious condition at Assaf Harofeh Medical Center in Rishon Lezion early Monday morning. She was undergoing surgery, but a doctor told Ynet that there was no immediate risk to her life.
Shpringer’s sister was among the dozen people lightly injured in the collision, which occurred, near the Anava Interchange, east of Ramle.
— כיכר השבת (@kikarhashabat) February 14, 2016
“It is a difficult scene, with a bus that likely crashed into a truck on the shoulder [of the highway],” said United Hatzalah paramedic Yehiel Miller. “Unfortunately, when I arrived on the scene, I came across a boy and two girls who were unconscious, with no pulse and who were not breathing. Also, several adults who were unconscious and a lot of passengers who were conscious and suffered injuries.”