"I hit some people, I may have killed a few," an 18-year-old driver, who killed two cyclists with his car Saturday morning, said when called the police emergency hotline to report the accident. Later, during questioning, he admitted that he fell asleep at the wheel.
"I didn't drink and didn't smoke anything," he claimed. "I was just tired."
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Five other cyclists were injured when the vehicle swerved off the road and crashed into them on Highway 3, near Nahal Shorek.
Two cyclists sustained moderate to serious wounds, while three others were lightly injured in the collision. Eight Magen David Adom teams were called to the scene of the accident and pronounced the death of two cyclists – Yitzhak Simon and Shalom Grossman.
Scene of accident, near Nahal Shorek (Photo: Eli Senyor)
A sample of the teen's blood was taken in order to determine whether he was driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
"This road is one of the best," a police source said. "There's no reason for a driver to swerve this way onto the side of the road, and cause such a tragic outcome."
Negligence or manslaughter?
Retracing the course of the hours prior to the incident for the investigators, the driver said that he spent the night at his friends' house in Ashdod, and was asleep between 1 am and 6 am.
"I woke up and wanted to go home," he said. "(...)We just fell asleep, my friend and I. We woke up when the car hit the group of cyclists. I got scared; I stopped on the side and called the police. I don't know how it happened."
His friend, who was with him at the time of the accident, recalled the moments of horror during the initial questioning: "We were at our friends' house, but we didn't drink anything. On the way back I fell asleep and suddenly heard a large boom.
"I don’t know what happened. All I know is that he lost control of the car and hit the riders. I have no idea how it happened – how he didn’t see them."
The Rishon Lezion Magistrate's court extended the teen's remand until Tuesday on suspicion of causing death by negligence. The judge granted the perpetrator's request to keep his identity private.
During the hearing it turned out that the teen spent the night with five friends who drank alcohol and may have used drugs. If the analysis of the blood sample shows that he was intoxicated while driving, he may be charged with manslaughter. The results of the analysis are expected on Tuesday.
"This is a disaster for all of us," a relative of the driver said following the hearing.
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