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Alleged drunk driver held over Yom Kippur death of boy, 12, sent to house arrest

Eran Azoulay suspected of also taking drugs before getting behind the wheel; maintains Barak Houry came out of nowhere on bike, but witnesses say he was recklessly speeding

Barak Houry, 12, painting in his bedroom. (Courtesy of the Houry family)
Barak Houry, 12, painting in his bedroom. (Courtesy of the Houry family)

The driver who fatally ran over over a 12-year-old boy on Yom Kippur, allegedly while drunk and under the influence of drugs, was released to house arrest by a court on Friday.

Eran Azoulay, 41, is accused of killing Barak Houry, 12, a resident of Ramat Gan, who was riding his bicycle on Route 4 near the town of Givat Shmu’el in the center of the country on the evening of Yom Kippur, earlier this month.

Following the crash, police detected over twice the legal limit of alcohol on Azoulay’s breath. He is also suspected of consuming drugs before getting behind the wheel. According to reports, Azoulay has 41 previous convictions for driving offenses, including drunk driving.

Police had requested the Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court extend Azoulay’s detention until the indictment is filed against him, but the court denied the request and decided to release him under restrictive conditions.

Azoulay was required to deposit a bond of NIS 10,000 (approximately $3000) and another third-party guarantee for the same amount. Additionally, he is banned from leaving the country and was told to surrender his passport.

The deadly crash occurred on Yom Kippur when Israelis often fill the streets, taking advantage of the generally deserted roads and highways.

Alleged drunk driver Eran Azoulay, accused of killing Barak Houry, 12, on Yom Kippur, Septemeber 2021 (Screen grab/Kan)

Houry was rushed to the Beilinson hospital in nearby Petah Tikva in critical condition, where doctors later pronounced his death. Paramedics said in a statement that the boy was wearing a helmet and protective gear when he was hit.

Houry, described by those who knew him as an immensely talented boy, had been due to celebrate his bar mitzvah in around a month’s time.

Read more: Family of boy killed on Yom Kippur fundraise for his ‘robot firefighter’ project

Azoulay has maintained in interrogations that Houry appeared from nowhere and he could not prevent the crash.

However eyewitnesses from the scene have said that the driver was speeding without caution, despite the fact that the streets were filled with people on bicycles, many of them children.

Neta Shafir, also 12, said that she met Houry just moments earlier while riding their bikes, and witnessed the deadly crash.

“Suddenly a car arrived at insane speed. It did not try to move to the side, did not try to brake. Just traveled towards us. I screamed in horror and ran to the side [of the road]. I hoped the boy ran away too. But after a split second I heard the horrible boom of the collision,” she wrote in a Facebook post.

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