Driver suspected of killing child on Yom Kippur had cocaine in his car – police

8-year-old victim Itay Margi was wearing helmet, waiting at pedestrian crossing; eyewitnesses say Amir Abu Laben was driving at ‘crazy’ speed, threw drugs into bushes after crash

Itay Margi (Courtesy)
Itay Margi (Courtesy)

The driver of a vehicle suspected of running over and killing an 8-year-old boy on Yom Kippur is also suspected of distributing drugs and trying to hide the evidence, a court heard Thursday during a remand hearing.

Secular Israelis, and 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.

The victim of the accident was named Thursday as Itay Margi.

Amir Abu Laben, 20, from Ramle is suspected of hitting Margi at a junction on Tel Aviv’s Namir Road. Margi, who was hearing a helmet, was hit at a pedestrian crossing.

Eyewitnesses told police that in the moments after the collision, 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.

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)

The Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court extended Abu Laben’s detention by four days, although police had asked for eight days.

Margi’s funeral was being held at 2 p.m. Thursday at the Yarkon cemetery in Tel Aviv.

איתי מרגי בן ה-8 נדרס למוות בעיצומו של יום כיפור: "בשורה בלתי נתפסת"

Posted by ‎החדשות – N12‎ on Wednesday, October 9, 2019

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

A test found that Abu Laben was not under the influence of alcohol at the time of the accident. The results of a drug test have not yet returned.

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.

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, began Tuesday at sundown and ended Wednesday evening, marked by a fast and intense prayer by religious Jews.

In addition to Margi’s death, a 10-year-old cyclist was killed after being hit by a motorbike on Route 443 in the center of the country.

In addition, a 13-year-old was seriously injured after he fell from a scooter in Ashkelon.

People ride their bicycles along the empty road in Jerusalem, on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, and the holiest of Jewish holidays, October 09, 2019 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Paramedics from the Magen David Adom ambulance service treated over 1,800 Israelis over the 25-hour period, including 268 people who fainted, dehydrated, or felt ill due to the fast

According to a spokesperson from MDA, 256 people needed first aid due to injuries from cycling, rollerblading, scooters, and skateboards.

There were 24 people injured in traffic accidents.

For paramedics, Yom Kippur is one of the busiest days of the year, with hundreds of extra staff, ambulances, and volunteers deployed across the country.

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