POSTED: 12:07 a.m. HST, Mar 29, 2012
LAST UPDATED: 4:21 p.m. HST, Mar 29, 2012
A 3-year-old boy was killed and the boy's mother and three siblings were badly injured when a car plowed into a Makaha bus stop Wednesday night.
The Medical Examiner's Office identified the victim as Ashton Brown. He died of multiple traumatic injuries caused by a motor vehicle collision, medical examiners said today.
The driver fled, but patrol officers stopped a badly damaged Honda sedan about two miles away near the Makaha 7-Eleven, said Lt. Robert Towne of the Honolulu Police Department's Traffic Division.
Officers arrested the driver of the Honda, a 44-year-old Lualualei man, on suspicion of first-degree negligent homicide, causing accidental death or injury and driving under the influence of alcohol. Police said speed may also be a factor in the crash.
Paramedics took four other family members to the Queen's Medical Center: a girl, 11, in critical condition with leg and head injuries; the mother, 41, in guarded condition; a boy, 7, in serious condition; and a girl, 5, in serious condition.
Analia Barboza, who lives next door to the crash scene, was watching TV in her home at about 10:15 p.m. when she heard a loud noise. "It was like somebody blew a tree up," Barboza said. "It rattled my house."
She ran out to help and found the family in shock. After an initial scream, "it was real quiet, it was eerie."
She said she tried to comfort the injured children. A woman who is a nurse arrived and found one of the daughters in the brush several feet behind the bus stop, where she had been thrown by impact of the crash, Barboza said.
The mother and five of the children were resting at the bus stop in front of Makaha Beach, Towne said. The father, who had the family's 1-year-old child with him, was across the street when the Honolulu-bound Honda veered off the road and slammed into the bus shelter, Towne said.
Sources said the father may have been setting up a tent for his family across the street from the bus stop.
Homeless people live in the area and the family looked familiar to her, Barboza said.
The 44-year suspect had just been released on parole from the Laumaka Work Furlough Center at Oahu Community Correction Center on March 20.
The suspect had met with his parole officer on Tuesday and had passed all his drug tests, a Department of Public Safety Department said.
Courts records show that the 44-year-old suspect had six prior felony convictions and six misdemeanors, including a 1986 conviction for drunken driving, car theft and criminal property damage on Maui. He was sentenced to five years in jail. In 2004 he was sentenced to a 10-year jail term for first-degree burglary and was placed on parole. He was again sent back to prison in 2008 for violating his parole.
The crash left the bus shelter and bus stop sign leaning to the side and obliterated the bus stop bench. Yellow police tape surrounded the scene.
Police shut Farrington Highway from Water Street to Kili Drive until about 4 a.m. as traffic investigators examined the crime scene.
Towne said anyone who witnessed the crash should call the Honolulu Police Department's Traffic Division at 529-3499.
Barboza said it's not the first time she's seen someone die from a crash outside her house. She ran out of the house one night in 1996 to help a man who had been thrown from the front-side passenger seat onto the highway.
There have been numerous other crashes involving serious injury outside her house, Barboza said. Most have involved speeding, alcohol or both, she said. "That's a common denominator. They're drunk and they lose control of the car. What people don't realize is that this road has such a curvature to it, and it's so tilted. If you're drunk and you're speeding, you'll lose control."
"I don't want to see anymore of this," she said. "I don't think my brain can tolerate it, honestly. I'm in shock still. I can't sleep. Every time I close my eyes, I see them. I just pray to God that they're OK."
Star-Advertiser reporter Gregg K. Kakesako contributed to this story.