Tuesday, November 24, 2015         

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Police cite speed in fatal car wreck

By Gordon Y.K. Pang and Rob Shikina


Two cars involved in a fatal, five-car crash on New Year's Day -- a silver 2007 Mitsubishi sedan and a silver 2006 Lexus sedan -- were reportedly being driven "erratically and at a high rate of speed" according to witness accounts, said Honolulu police Sgt. Alan Vegas.

The crash that ensued injured six people, one of them critically, and scattered mangled auto parts over a 100-yard stretch of road.

The Mitsubishi, traveling north, crossed into the southbound lane of Kunia Road and struck a gold 1992 Mercury sedan at an angle, Vegas said.

The Mitsubishi overturned, and its driver and one of his rear-seat passengers, age 12, were ejected from the car, Vegas said.

Two people were killed and six others injured Saturday in the 6:55 p.m. pileup.

The ejected youngster was pronounced dead at the scene, while the Mitsubishi's driver was taken to the Queen's Medical Center in critical condition, Vegas said. Three other teenage boys in the car -- ages 19, 17 and 14 -- were taken to Queen's in serious condition.

A 42-year-old Ewa Beach woman, the driver of the Mercury, was pronounced dead at the scene, Vegas said.

The Lexus, which was near or astride to the right of the Mitsubishi, veered right, went out of control and spun into the southbound lane, where it was broadsided by a silver 2010 Nissan pickup truck.

The drivers of both the Lexus and the pickup were taken to Queen's in serious condition.

A gray 1994 Nissan sedan, directly behind the Mercury, was struck by debris. It veered right, striking a dirt embankment.

Neither the Nissan's driver, a 48-year-old Wahiawa man, nor his three female passengers -- ages 29, 4 and 3 months -- were injured.

Honolulu Police Department Maj. Thomas Nitta of the Traffic Division said speed appears to have been a factor in the crash, which happened in an unlit area of the roadway. Police said they are looking into the possibility that the drivers of the Mitsubishi and Lexus were racing.

It is unknown whether alcohol was a factor.

During the investigation, Kunia Road remained closed between Lyman Gate and Anonui Street on the Royal Kunia side. It was reopened shortly before 2 a.m. yesterday.

The deaths were the first Oahu traffic fatalities for the new year.

Later Saturday a 43-year-old Hauula man died from injuries apparently sustained when he jumped or fell from a moving truck on Kamehameha Highway during an argument with the driver.

According to police, the man was riding in a Ford truck driven by a 46-year-old Hauula woman. The two argued, and the man either jumped or fell from the truck at about 9:25 p.m. about 100 feet south of Kawaipuna Street.

He was taken to the Queen's Medical Center with what appeared to be non-life-threatening injuries and was conscious and combative, police said. But his condition deteriorated and he died.

Police said the driver was not speeding or intoxicated. However, they said the victim had been drinking prior to the incident.

Sixty-two people died in traffic crashes on Oahu in 2010.

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