Indictment: Driver accelerated 'despite companion's pleas'

Murder charge for alleged drunk driver who hit and killed volunteer police officer

Rani al-Kamlat accused of murder with depraved indifference for killing of Amichai Carmel in June, when he plowed into a sobriety checkpoint in Rishon Lezion

Amichai Carmely. (Courtesy)
Amichai Carmely. (Courtesy)

Prosecutors filed a murder indictment Monday against the driver accused of fatally hitting a volunteer police officer last month when he sped through a sobriety checkpoint while allegedly under the influence of alcohol.

Rani al-Kamlat, 28, from the southern Bedouin city of Rahat, was charged with murder with depraved indifference for the killing of Amichai Carmely, 46, one of a number of officers staffing the checkpoint.

In addition, Al-Kamlat was charged with causing grievous bodily harm of two other officers, reckless endangerment on a public highway and drunk driving.

Carmely was killed in the early hours of June 11 when a vehicle plowed into the checkpoint in the central city of Rishon Lezion. He is survived by his wife and two children aged 19 and 16.

According to the indictment, al-Kamlat and some friends went to Rishon Lezion to visit an entertainment venue.

After consuming alcohol, al-Kamlat and two friends got into a car, with the accused behind the wheel.

The scene where a volunteer police officer was killed when a driver drove through a sobriety checkpoint, June 11, 2022 (Magen David Adom)

At around 4 a.m. the car stopped at a junction in the city and the passengers got out of  the vehicle and danced in the street. When they noticed a police squad car driving by, they got back into the car and drove off, the indictment read.

The car hit a stationary taxi, at which point police gave chase. In his haste to escape, al-Kamlat went through a red light.

The group then fled in the direction of the Beit Dagan interchange, driving along Hamaccabim Road, where the police volunteers had set up a checkpoint to apprehend drunk drivers.

As they approached the checkpoint al-Kamlat accelerated the car “despite the pleas of his companion” in the passenger seat, according to the indictment.

The car hit Carmely, killing him on the spot, and careened into a police patrol car, injuring another two officers.

Al-Kamlat continued driving and only stopped when he hit another car at the scene. He then got out of the vehicle and ran into oncoming traffic, but was apprehended by police.

The scene where a volunteer police officer was killed when a driver drove through a sobriety checkpoint, June 11, 2022 (Israel Police)

Channel 12 news reported that al-Kamlat had previously served 10 months in prison for assaulting a police officer.

He has claimed that he wasn’t driving the car, though at least one of the other passengers has testified to police that it was al-Kamlat behind the wheel, the outlet reported.

At the time of his death, the head of the Israel Police traffic unit, Yehuda Ben-Atar, eulogized Carmely as “professional, brave and salt of the earth.”

Police said Carmely had volunteered for over 15 years, and that his grandfather was a police officer who was also killed in the line of duty. Moshe Carmely was killed by a grenade in Gaza on the eve of Yom Kippur 1973.

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