Traffic Court convicted Mohammed Algabor, 26, on Sunday on five counts of negligent manslaughter in a traffic accident three years ago near the Arava Junction.
Algabor was driving a truck which collided with another vehicle, killing the family of five inside: Lior Dahan, 30, his mother Ruth Dahan, 57, his wife Tali, 33, his sister Sarit Cohen, 19, and five-month old Shilat. Algabor himself was only lightly injured.
"You've ruined our lives for three years," one of the relatives cried at court. "He killed five of us. How can we move on from that? It just gets harder every day."
The family's relatives at court (Photo: Herzl Yosef)
According to the indictment, filed in August 2010, Algabor was driving a truck over the speed limit on a steep road.
Algabor ignored the signs warning of the dangerous road and drove without taking the necessary precautions.
Photos of the accident's casualties (Photo: Herzl Yosef)
The Dahan family was driving to a wedding in northern Israel
when Algabor's truck swerved off the lane, collided with their vehicle and pushed it onto a rocky terrain where it caught fire.
In the verdict the judge quoted Algabor's statement in his interrogation: "I wasn't awake," he said. "I wasn't awake to myself."
Scene of the accident (Photo: Herzl Yosef)
In light of the driver's negligence and the possibility that he fell asleep at the wheel, the judge convicted him of five charges of manslaughter.
Before the verdict, Algabor expressed his regret: "It will hurt for the rest of my life. I'm sorry. It's hard. I have no words to express my regret. I think about it all the time, days and nights."
His father echoed the sentiment: "He will hurt their death, not through the court but through his conscience. We'll suffer for the rest of our lives, we and the families."
Some of the deceased family's relatives dismissed these statements: "How can it help? How can it make a difference? He already ruined our lives," one of them said.
Algabor's attorney said that they will probably appeal the verdict.
The prosecution's representative, Attorney Wadim Sigal, was pleased with the court's decision: "The court's conviction on five charges sets a precedent. It means the State Prosecutor's Office will motion for more than a three-year sentence. Theoretically he could be sentenced for each of the offences separately."
But for some family members, the verdict offered little consolation: "Even if he gets the death penalty
it doesn't matter, but I hope he'll get the maximum sentence," said a relative.
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