(September 25, 2018 / JNS) An American Jewish tourist celebrating the Sukkot holiday in Israel was killed by a hit-and-run driver late Sunday night on the way back from prayers at Jerusalem’s Western Wall.
Walking near the Paris Square intersection near several hotels and the Israeli prime minister’s official residence, the man was hit by a car around 12:30 a.m. He was transported to the trauma unit of Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem in critical condition, but was pronounced dead shortly after arrival.
The 31-year-old man’s identity has not yet been confirmed, as his family—religious Jews still celebrating the preliminary days of Sukkot in America, during which electronic devices cannot be used—have yet to be reached.
The driver of the car fled the scene, though police were able to identify and locate the damaged vehicle 90 minutes later in the neighborhood of Mount Scopus. The driver, a Spanish journalist, was found to have a blood-alcohol level three times the legal limit. He confessed to hitting the pedestrian and was arrested.
The Spanish deputy consul in Jerusalem responded that “there is no doubt that there is a reasonable suspicion that the offense was committed, but in light of the lack of a criminal record, the investigation can be completed with an alternative to detention.” The presiding judge released him to house arrest.