Son: 'How can we write or talk about you in the past tense?'

Volunteer police officer killed as car plows through sobriety checkpoint; 4 arrested

Father-of-2 Amichai Carmely, 46, killed in Rishon Lezion; 3 injured; 4 arrested; report says driver had been drinking; cop’s grandfather was killed in line of duty in 1973

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

A volunteer police officer was killed early Saturday morning when he was mowed down by a vehicle at a checkpoint set up to check for drunk drivers in the central city of Rishon Lezion.

The man, later named as 46-year-old Amichai Carmely, was declared dead on the scene by medics.

Three others were injured — two police officers were lightly wounded and a passenger in the vehicle was moderately hurt. The two injured volunteer officers were released from hospital on Saturday afternoon.

Carmely was a resident of Rishon Lezion. He is survived by his wife and two children aged 19 and 16.

“My father — how can we write or talk about you in the past tense?” said 16-year-old Sagi Carmely, according to Channel 12 news. “I do not know what to say or do or how to behave, but I will still try because you always told me that if I do not try, I will not know.”

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

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

Four suspects, all residents of the southern Bedouin town of Rahat, were arrested in connection with the incident.

They appeared in court for a  hearing on Saturday evening. The drive had his remand extended for five days, while the passengers were ordered held for another day.

Ahead of their hearing, police announced a special anti-crime unit has been tasked with investigating the incident, with the driver now suspected of murder according to evidence gathered so far.

According to the Ynet news site, tests showed the driver had a blood-alcohol level above the legal limit.

Police believe the vehicle had earlier hit a taxi in Rishon Lezion, and the group then fled in the direction of the Beit Dagan interchange, driving along Derech Ha’Maccabim where the police volunteers had set up the checkpoint to apprehend drunk drivers.

The driver failed to stop and plowed into the volunteer police officers.

An eye witness said the vehicle was zig-zagging as it approached, and the driver appeared to lose control as he tried to go through the checkpoint without stopping, hitting a number of officers and vehicles.

“The vehicle drove wildly and threw two vehicles that were parked at the checkpoint into the air,” the witness told Channel 12 news.

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

The Ynet news site said police were working to determine if the passengers in the vehicle encouraged the driver to flee, or had tried to get him to stop.

Police said they opened an investigation into the incident, and that the perpetrators would face the full severity of the law.

In a statement, Israel Police said Carmely was a “good and elite” volunteer who worked at the sobriety checkpoint on the shift overnight between Friday and Saturday in the hope that it would save the lives of young people and allow them to return home to their parents.

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 Erev Yom Kippur 1973.

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