Driver suspected of killing boy in Yom Kippur crash released to house arrest

Driver suspected of killing boy in Yom Kippur crash released to house arrest

Amir Abu Laben, accused of fatally hitting 8-year-old Itay Margi, freed on bail until November 7, has driver’s license revoked for 30 days

Itay Margi (Courtesy)
Itay Margi (Courtesy)

The driver suspected of running over and killing an 8-year-old boy on Yom Kippur two weeks ago was released to house arrest on Sunday.

The Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court said Amir Abu Laben, 20, will remain under full house arrest in his home in Ramle until November 7.

He was freed on bail, and his driver’s license has been revoked for 30 days or until a future decision on the matter.

Abu Laben is suspected of hitting Itay Margi at a junction on Tel Aviv’s Namir Road last Wednesday. Margi, who was wearing a helmet, was hit at a pedestrian crossing.

Police suspect Abu Laben of manslaughter, traffic offenses, dealing in narcotics, and obstructing an investigation.

A drug test last week found that Abu Laben was not under the influence of drugs at the time of the crash, despite an earlier urine sample reportedly finding traces.

Eyewitnesses have told police that in the moments after the collision, Abu Laben threw something into nearby bushes. Police later found 1.6 grams of cocaine in the bushes, which they believe was for distribution rather than personal use, as Abu Laben claims. His fingerprints were reportedly found on the package.

In addition, a review of the electronic devices found in Abu Laben’s car revealed text messages indicating that clients had purchased drugs from him.

A police representative has said those findings significantly bolster the suspicion that Abu Laben had been distributing drugs and had attempted to hide the evidence.

Israelis ride their bicycles along the empty Ayalon highway in Tel Aviv, on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, and the holiest of Jewish holidays, October 09, 2019 (Miriam Alster/Flash 90)

In addition to examining traffic cameras from the scene, police have interviewed a number of eyewitnesses.

One eyewitness told police that “after the accident the only thing that interested him was to hide the stuff,” Channel 12 reported last week.

A police representative said during the hearing that one witness said Abu Laben “was driving at a crazy speed.”

An attorney for the suspect said that his client has expressed regret over what had happened and was cooperating with police.

Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement and the holiest day of the Jewish calendar, is marked by a fast and intense prayer by religious Jews.

Secular Israelis, especially children, are known to take advantage of the dearth of cars on the roads and highways on the somber holiday, filling the streets with bicycles.

Also on Yom Kippur, 10-year-old cyclist Riad Abu Shariki was hit by a motorbike and killed on Route 443 in the center of the country.

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