Israel Police seeking convicted felon over three hit-and-run deaths in Netanya
Shoshan Barbi is suspected of killing three women in a hit-and-run crash in Netanya on Saturday.
Police are searching for Shoshan Barbi, a convicted felon and known associate of reputed Netanya crime families, who is suspected of killing three women in a hit-and-run crash in Netanya on Saturday.
Police have released a photo of Barbi to the public in an attempt to locate him. Barbi is suspected of speeding at the time of the crash, and may have been under the influence of drugs and alcohol, according to police.
Police say Barbi stopped the car a few meters from the scene of the crash, and then got out with a passenger and fled on foot.
The vehicle, an Audi, was heavily damaged by the impact and its air bags deployed, police say.
The victims have been identified as Alexandra Rubinov, 67, of Netanya; her aunt, Svetlana Yegodayev, 56, of Dimona; and Yegodayev's daughter, Shoshana Yegodayev, 25, also of Dimona. Police say they believe Barbi, 35, who is married with three children, may have been driving the car while under the influence of alcohol and drugs. He has served time previously for drug-related offenses, and is a known associate of the Abutbul and Shirazi crime families. He was allegedly involved in black-market loans and debt-collecting, according to police.
Shortly after the accident, a 26-year-old Netanya resident reportedly turned himself in to police. Last night the court remanded him into custody, but authorities are questioning his confession.
According to police, the man initially admitted to driving the car but subsequently changed his story. The suspect's attorney, Tami Ulman, said her client only confessed to driving the car because he was asked to do so; he now claims he wasn't even in the car. Police say they they believe the man they have in custody was trying to cover for Barbi, whom they believe was behind the wheel.
In April 2010 Barbi led police on a high-speed chase from the Gelilot junction near Herzliya to Netanya, where he ran several red lights before he was apprehended. He then escaped the patrol car and hid from police for two weeks before giving himself up.
In July 2010, he was convicted, under a plea bargain, of reckless driving and obstructing a police officer. He was sentenced to eight months in prison but was parolled after two months and sent to a treatment program. The court rejected the state's appeal arguing against his release.
Shoshana Yegodayev's brother, Rudy Yegodayev, said: "I hear the driver who has run away is a criminal, and he should be given the harshest punishment there is and not allowed to escape justice. We will know how to find them no matter where they are."
Yegodayev added: "I call on the driver not to be a coward and to give himself up. I will find you, just like they found the driver who ran down Lee Zeitouni [a 25-year-old woman killed in a hit-and-run in September in Tel Aviv]."
The suspected driver and the owner of the car that killed Zeitouni fled to France hours after the accident. Zeitouni's family has filed a complaint against the two with French authorities, as the suspects are French citizens and according to French law cannot be extradited to Israel. Last month the two were summoned for questioning on suspicion of aggravated manslaughter.
Friends of Lee Zeitouni pledged to help in the manhunt for Barbi, and posted the picture of the suspect issued by police on the Internet. A Facebook page for a group called "Justice for Lee," established after Zeitouni's death, said it would "do everything possible within the law to assist the media, citizens and police in finding the hit-and-run driver."