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Family of crash victim wanted him to stay home

Ervin Yanuaria decided to celebrate with friends and was killed when a van he was riding in was wrecked on the H-1

By Rob Shikina

LAST UPDATED: 3:30 a.m. HST, Feb 5, 2011

Family and friends didn't want Ervin Yanuaria to go out late Thursday night, but after friends continued to call him, he decided to join them to celebrate a friend's birthday.

On his way out, he told his father that he wouldn't be gone for long, his mother said.

Yanuaria, 20, died yesterday morning in a single-vehicle crash after the driver, who apparently was speeding and under the influence of alcohol, crashed on the H-1 freeway in Aiea, police said.

A 19-year-old man driving the 1995 Toyota Sienna van lost control in the eastbound lanes just before the Kaonohi overpass and hit an embankment at about 2 a.m., police said. The van flipped several times before stopping under the overpass.

Yanuaria died at the Queen's Medical Center.

Police arrested the driver for investigation of negligent homicide after he was treated at the hospital.

Five other male passengers, ages 18 to 20, were taken in serious condition to hospitals.

It appeared that no one in the van was wearing a seat belt, police said.

"I feel so sad," said Yanuaria's mother, Gemma, who thought about how Ervin usually stayed home. "If (the friend) never call, Ervin was still here yet."

She said Ervin, a 2009 graduate of Waipahu High School, had been working at Sbarro's Pizza while deciding what he wanted to do in life and considered returning to school to become an auto mechanic.

When he was about 11, Ervin thought about going into the military, but as he got older he changed his mind because he didn't "want to die early," his mother said.

Family and friends stopped by the Yanuarias' Waipahu home yesterday to offer the family their condolences. His younger brother Justin, 16, stayed home from school and couldn't eat, likely because he was in shock, his mother said.

Jason Viejo, 20, had car decals printed in memory of Ervin and gave them to Yanuaria's family.

Viejo said he just returned from a military deployment to Afghanistan, and he had been planning a circle-island drive with Yanuaria, whom he described as shy.

Gemma Yanuaria said she got a call about the crash yesterday morning while at work as a housekeeper in Waikiki.

"He's kind, always smiling," she said. "He's the one making laughter in the house. When he's taking a bath, he's singing."

She said she doesn't know whether she's ready to forgive the driver.

"That's the worst," she said. "If you're drunk and drive, that's the end. Don't drive if you're drunk."


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