Text, video show Golani soldiers' final moments before fatal crash
Ynet has obtained last message Staff Sergeant Bar Yakubian sent his family, last video Staff Sergeant Eshto Tespo recorded moments before fatal Highway 6 crash that claimed their lives; driver responsible for crash, initially suspected of manslaughter, released to house arrest after judge criticizes police handling of investigation.
Staff Sergeant Bar Yakubian, 19, and Staff Sergeant Eshto Tespo, 21, were killed in a car crash on Highway 6 Tuesday. Ynet has obtained the last Whatsapp message sent by Yakubian and a video showing Tespo singing with his comrades in their military hummer, moments before the crash that claimed both their lives.
"On the way to Nablus we stopped at 'Eliyahu' hummus in Yokne'am," Bar wrote in his family's Whatsapp group. "When we were ready to board the hummers, someone had a flat tire. I changed it in 3 minutes. Lucky I was there…"
Yakubian's mother Ruti tried for hours to locate her son in a hospital after news of the crash broke, but to no avail. She was notified of her son's demise shortly thereafter.
Three and a half years ago, Ruti Yakubian laid her husband to rest after he died of cardiac arrest. Thursday, the bereaved mother eulogized her son, saying, "That pure soul, that good, special boy."
Her two remaining sons, Oron—a former Givati officer—and Itai were by her side. "Bar was the youngest child," his mother added. "Filled with joy for life, everyone's baby. At 5pm Bar texted me that he was leaving the base en route to a mission.
"He then sent me another message saying he had hummus with his friends in Yokne'am and was running a little late because he helped someone change a flat tire. That was Bar—always helping, always volunteering."
Moments later, Ruti saw a message on a group for soldiers' parents that shook her to her very core. "The message said (their) team was in an accident. I immediately called Bar but there was no reply. I called his friend and asked where they were, but we were disconnected. At 10pm I saw military vehicles driving up to my house and understood," she recounted.
Former Miss Israel Yityish Titi Aynaw, who is Tespo's cousin, said from New York Wednesday, "A 21-yar-old child is gone. He was special in both looks and character. Always in a good mood, always dreaming of the military. We'll remain strong. We're a tight-knit family."
Truck driver who hit convoy released to house arrest
Anour Abu Zina, the driver who caused the crash when his truck collided with the military convoy, was released to a five-day house arrest Friday morning after police failed to appeal Petah Tikva Magistrates' Court Judge Erez Melamed's decision.
While the police's representative initially claimed there a suspicion of manslaughter existed, Judge Melamed criticized the police's handling of the investigation. "I'm of the opinion that a reasonable suspicion exists for driving recklessly and not maintaining proper distance, rather than manslaughter," the judge said.
The crash happened as three military hummers were making their way from a training exercise in the north to their base in the south. They stopped on the road's shoulders when one of the drivers noticed the vehicle was shaking when he reached 40 kilometers per hour—prompting the other drivers to stop as well.
The first hummer was at an almost complete standstill on the shoulders, whereas the two other vehicles were slowing down to a stop, at which point the truck powerfully collided with the third hummer—despite the other soldiers' claims that the driver used his indicators.
The vehicle was completely crushed and pushed onto the two vehicles ahead. The truck also hit the second vehicle.
Judge Melamed ruled Wednesday that a new police document weakened suspicion and ordered to release Abu Zina to house arrest. "As we claimed, the convoy's drivers did not conduct themselves as expected while driving on Highway 6," his attorney said.