Yaniv Fierovskin, the suspect in last month’s hit-and-run that injured two aspiring teenage athletes, admitted Saturday morning to his role in the incident.
According to police, Fierovskin, 23, said he did not intentionally hit 15-year-old Tigist Bito and 19-year-old Radait Baltat with his all-terrain vehicle.
“I wanted to make a point to them, but the ATV betrayed me and hit them,” he said. The teenagers had been training with their cross-country team near Kibbutz Givat Brenner on a Friday night.
Baltat denied that what Fierovskin did was an accident. She claimed he meant to run them over — “he meant to kill us, and I thank god we’re alive now” — she retorted. “It felt like murder.”
“Why did he run away? Why didn’t he stop to help us [if it was an accident]?” Baltat asked, pointing to what she said were his intentions of killing them.
Police arrested Fierovskin on September 4. During a hearing in front of the Rehovot Magistrate’s Court the next day, Fierovskin denied the allegations against him. Police argued that he had tied himself to the scene of the crime, and requested his detention, which was granted. Investigators at the time were not certain of his involvement, but said that he fit the profile of the suspect captured on police security cameras.
Police reportedly possess security camera evidence showing an ATV driver fleeing the scene of the crime and running a red light, Channel 2 reported. The video also helped investigators identify the make and model of the suspect’s ATV.
“I will get to the Olympics. You will all see. In four years I’ll be representing Israel in Rio,” Bito, one of the victims, said earlier this month.
Her doctor said she suffered a broken leg and injuries to her face and body.
“I understood that my leg was injured and I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to run. The moment the doctors told me that it will be okay and that in half a year I’ll return to running, I was very happy,” she said.
Bito said that she couldn’t understand how someone in an ATV could deliberately run over her and her friend. She said that the driver had attempted to murder them and she asked the Israel Police to do all in their power to catch the offender.
Bito competed in the World Schools Athletics Championships in Malta earlier this year and was a rising long-distance star for Israel’s squad for the 2016 Olympics in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. Israel placed 15th overall in the Malta cross country competition.
Greg Tepper and Yoel Goldman contributed to this report.