POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Jun 3, 2011
A mo-ped driver killed by an alleged hit-and-run drunken driver last weekend stood out for his hard work as a performing arts student at the University of Hawaii at Hilo, his former educators said.
Theodore Vincent Braxton, 22, was born in Chicago and attended UH-Hilo for the past three years, where he majored in performing arts and double-minored in agriculture and philosophy. He was supposed to graduate in 2012.
He played the piano, sang and had a passion for circus arts, said Jackie Johnson, a UH-Hilo professor.
He was a tenor in UH-Hilo’s premier Kapili Choir and one of its most enthusiastic members, said choir Director Matthew Howell.
“He was always asking for more to learn and how to better himself,” Howell said. “Just an excellent kid.”
His death is a major loss for the school’s performing arts students, who are a close group, Howell said.
“He had a very gentle personality, but he was personally driven to succeed and enthusiastic about the things he was participating in,” Howell said.
Braxton was killed Saturday when a driver made a left turn into the path of his mo-ped on Kinoole Street in Hilo. The van’s driver dragged the mo-ped back to his home about a mile away.
Keolaokalani Kailianu, 41, of Hilo was charged with first-degree negligent homicide, drunken driving and fleeing the scene of an accident.
Braxton is survived by parents Donald and Sarah Braxton of Pennsylvania, brother Samuel Henry Braxton, sister Grace Helen Braxton and grandparents.
A celebration of his life will be held at 4 p.m. today at Belly Acres, Seaview, Pahoa.