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Callers told police about wrong-way driver before fatal crash

By Gordon Y.K. Pang

LAST UPDATED: 11:31 a.m. HST, Jul 30, 2011

Police dispatchers received at least a dozen 911 calls from motorists who saw a vehicle traveling the wrong way in the town-bound lanes of H-2 freeway between Mililani and Waipio during the early morning hours of July 18.

Tim Leyes, a 58-year-old security guard, was killed in that vehicle when it struck an SUV. The woman in the SUV, as well as the driver of a third vehicle who crashed into a freeway median as she swerved to avoid the collision sustained major injuries but are recovering.

The 911 recordings released by the Honolulu Police Department Friday included one call by the 47-year-old Waialua woman who was driving her Toyota Rav 4 townbound and was struck by Leyes' Hyundai.

The woman sounds dazed and disoriented through much of the conversation. 

"Someone ... hit me," she said. "Car ... freeway ... H-2."

At one point, she described feeling an injury to her stomach. 

At another point, other motorists trying to help the victim are heard faintly speaking to the victim from outside her car.

The police dispatcher who received the victim's call remained calm and stayed with the motorist until receiving confirmation that emergency responders had arrived.

"We have officers and the ambulance coming, OK?" the female operator assured her.

From 4:24 a.m. until a short time after the 4:28 a.m. crash, various dispatchers received at least a dozen calls about a wrong-way motorist on H-2 townbound between the Mililani and Ka Uka interchanges or of the aftermath of the crash near the Pineapple Overpass Road, according to the recordings.

One woman said: "I don't know where this car came from, but it's going the opposite direction, on the Honolulu-bound lanes. It was like on the side, um, of the road, you know, like the right side?"

Several dispatchers attempted to find out more about the wrong-way vehicle but most callers said they could only see the headlights of the oncoming vehicle.

'"I couldn't tell," said one man. "We went by it and it was like 'oh my God!' the lights came on, and he was he was heading the wrong way!" 

Another male caller described the crash scene: "There's a mean car accident right after the Milliani offramp going townbound," said one motorists. "There's three cars. Pretty bad."

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