Tel Aviv attorney Dr. Avigdor Klagsbald, already the subject of two previous posts, was sentenced Thursday to a 15 months sentence, 10 year license suspension and 10,000 Shekel fine by the Tel Aviv Traffic Court for the April accident which cost the lives of 23 year old Yvgenia Wexler and her 5 year old son, Arthur.

Klagsbald had been found guilty of gross, virtual criminal negligence, when his Volkswagen Touareg 4X4 slammed into the small Fiat Punto car containing Vexler and her son on Tel Aviv’s Namir Blvd. In sentencing Klagsbald, which also included a fine of NS 10,000 and a ten years suspension of the attorney’s driving license; the presiding judge, Yitzhak Garti, said that Klagsbald’s act was of such a nature that he, as a man often appearing in courts of law to defend his clients, should not have been involved in. Judge Garti pointed out specifically that Klagsbald had plenty of time to see the line of cars, including Vexlers, that had stopped before a red traffic light; and even so, did a very dangerous maneuver in an attempt to position himself closer to the intersection by switching lanes. “He increased his negligence by both driving at a high rate of speed, and trying to switch lanes, preventing him from stopping properly” the Judge added.

Wexler’s family and their lawyer appeared to accept the verdict, even though a longer prison sentence, without conditions, as well as a higher fine had been hoped for. “The court restored our faith in the legal process” Zari Hazen, the Wexler family lawyer said afterwards. Klagsbald’s defense lawyers took a different view, however, saying their client “has already been punished by his guilt and deep remorse since the occurrence”. They plan a ‘robust appeal’ against the verdict, including the prison sentence, which they hope to reduce to no more than 10 months. They feel their client was specifically ‘singled out’ due to his legal background and prominence.

Organizations involved in road traffic safety felt that Klagsbald should also be required to become active in campaigns against road accidents. Zelda Harris, spokesperson for the Metuna road safety organization, feels that Klagsbald, due to his legal background and prominence, should personally be involved in road safely campaigns, and that he should be constantly reminded of the consequences of his momentary carelessness which cost two beautiful lives.

Making Klagsbald sit in the slammer, even a more minimum security facility, will not be a solution, as he is not really a danger to society, especially in light the he, himself, is aware of what he has done. His 10 year driving license suspension may be the best part of the Court’s sentencing, as it will keep him from being behind the wheel of a motor vehicle for a very long time (legally, that is). Every time he will have to rely on a paid driver, friend, or relative to take him where he needs to go, he will surely recall that day at the intersection of Namir Blvd and Einstein Street, when a thoughtless few seconds resulted in a tragedy that cost him so much.

Literally thousands of drivers in this country are as bad or worse in regards to daily road maneuvers, which is why the rate of accidents is so high in this country. We should all take this sad lesson to heart, the next time we get into our cars, which are, if driven improperly, really lethal weapons.