POSTED: 12:05 p.m. HST, Jan 22, 2012
LAST UPDATED: 7:00 p.m. HST, Mar 21, 2012
Police Chief Louis Kealoha identified the officer who was killed Saturday night while helping stranded motorists on the H-1 freeway as three-year patrol officer Garret Davis as Kealoha urged Honolulu drivers to drive more carefully.
"People gotta slow down on the highways," Kealoha said today at HPD headquarters, where a memorial to Davis was set up.
Davis, 28, graduated from the HPD academy in 2008 with the 161st cadet class.
He grew up in Folsom, Calif., attended San Francisco State University and moved to Honolulu to join the police department, HPD spokeswoman Caroline Sluyter said.
Davis has a young daughter who lives in California, Sluyter said. Services are pending.
Davis was assigned to the Wahiawa sub-station and was delivering paperwork to the main headquarters on Beretania Street when he stopped in the far, left-hand lane of the east-bound, H-1 freeway at the Kaonohi Street overpass in Aiea to help a 32-year-old man and a 22-year-old woman in a stalled vehicle, Kealoha said.
He had turned on the blue lights to his patrol car when he was allegedly struck from behind by a 41-year-old man driving a Chevrolet Silverado, Kealoha said.
"Officer Davis turned on his blue lights and stopped behind the stalled vehicle to shield it from on-coming traffic and to alert other drivers to the stall," Kealoha said.
Davis' patrol car was then rammed into the stalled vehicle and caught on fire, Kealoha said.
"He didn't even have a chance to get out," Kealoha said.
Emergency Medical Services personnel said the officer's car was hit at 8:19 p.m., sending it crashing into a pickup truck.
The couple Davis was trying to help was taken to a hospital in guarded condition, Kealoha said.
The driver of the Silverado was arrested for investigation of negligent homicide when he was released from a hospital, Kealoha said.
The collision occurred in clear weather but investigators are trying to determine whether speed or alcohol were factors, Kealoha said.
"Officer Davis was a fine young officer beginning his career in HPD," Kealoha said.
In 2010, Davis received the HPD certificate of merit for helping save a suicidal woman two miles off-shore in Haleiwa while riding on a Honolulu lifeguard personal watercraft.
"Although not a swimmer himself, Officer Davis assisted lifeguards on a personal watercraft and was able to bring the woman ashore safely," Kealoha said. "Last night he was again trying to help others when the fatal collision occurred. ... We are devastated by his loss but we send our prayers and condolences to his family. This is the second time in less than six months that an HPD officer has been killed on our roadways. Our officers risk their lives daily to protect our community and I am pleading with all of you to help protect them while driving with care when you see them performing their duties on our highways."
On Sept. 13, James Dorsey Mancao's pickup truck plowed into police cars stopped beside Farrington Highway near Ko Olina. Officer Eric Fontes was struck and killed, and officer Herman Scanlan was injured.
Emergency workers are pushing lawmakers to pass a bill requiring motorists to give a one-lane safety cushion, or to slow down, when driving around an emergency vehicle stopped on the road.