Bus driver claims Arab motorist caused lethal crash
The driver of the bus that lethally flipped on Thursday, killing a young female soldier and wounding numerous others, claims that despite the results of an initial police investigation it was an Arab driver who cut him off and caused the crash.
An investigation suggests the driver was driving too fast as he took a curve between Kokhav Hashahar and Migdalim in the Binyamin region of Samaria.
But the driver, Noam Lonchel of Kiryat Arba in Judea, told Walla from his hospital bed that it was an Arab driver in a car with Palestinian Authority (PA) plates that cut him off at high speed, causing him to swerve and flip.
“A Palestinian car overtook me recklessly and caused the accident,” he said.
Lonchel, a 42-year-old father of six, was lightly wounded in the crash and evacuated to Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in Jerusalem, where police officers questioned him for testimony.
Corp. Stav Pertush of Ma’ale Adumim to the east of Jerusalem, a 19-year-old soldier in the Air Force, died in the crash after being trapped under the bus. Another four soldiers were moderately to seriously wounded, and several others were lightly wounded.
According to the driver he maintained a safe speed, denying the initial investigation results that suggested he drove at reckless speeds.
“I drove between 60 to 70 kmh (around 37 to 43 mph),” claimed Lonchel. “We drove from the direction of Jerusalem, and then a Palestinian driver came up fast.”
“We rolled over once or twice. I don’t know how we managed to get out of there. When my eyes opened I was already outside of the bus.”
As noted, the initial police investigation contradicts the driver’s account.
Chaim Elran, who was a witness to the crash, claimed that the soldiers on board were shouting as the driver drove at breakneck speeds, saying, “there was hysteria all around.”