Israel - The driver of the bus involved in a collision that left 6 people dead Sunday night was ordered kept in custody for three days, on suspicion of negligent manslaughter and of tampering with the investigation of the accident.
In court on Monday, police said that in the 40 minutes between the time the accident happened and when the police placed him under arrest, Chaim Biton managed to remove the bus’s tachograph – which records the vehicle’s speed – and replace it after removing a disc.
Police also said he made a series of phone calls during those 40 minutes and they are working with the cellular companies to access the numbers he called.
The arrest warrant for Biton says the police case so far is based on forensic evidence taken from the scene as well Biton’s testimony and that of the truck driver he hit and multiple witnesses at the scene.
Police said that while driving his 402 Egged bus on highway 1 from Jerusalem to Bnei Brak “for reasons that remain unclear, he left the right lane and began driving in the shoulder and did not notice a disabled truck on the side of the road and struck it with great force.”
Police said that at the last moment he apparently did notice the truck because he swerved to the left, causing the bus to hit the truck mainly on its back left side.
Almost all of the passengers sitting on the right side of the bus were killed or hurt as a crane mounted on the back of the truck gutted the right side of the bus. Speaking at the Jerusalem Traffic Court on Sunday, police said the accident “looked like a terror attack”.
Biton was arrested at the scene of the accident at 7:30 Sunday night, some 40 minutes after the collision. Police continued to investigate the scene until 2am, after which they questioned Biton until 6:30am.
The accident on Highway 1 bore a striking resemblance to an accident involving Biton in December 2013. Like Sunday’s accident, in that collision Biton was driving the 402 line on Highway 1 from Jerusalem to Bnei Brak when he hit a truck from behind, leaving 18 passengers lightly hurt.