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Ex-city building superintendent killed, wife hurt in Pali crash

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 07:30 p.m. HST, Jan 10, 2013

A one-time former building superintendent for the city was killed and his wife badly injured during a crash on Pali Highway this morning.

Herbert Muraoka, 83, died when the Toyota Matrix he was driving apparently crashed into a flatbed tow truck near the Honolulu side of the Pali Tunnel about 9:20 a.m. and ended up on a berm on the Kailua-bound shoulder.

Police said they believe both vehicles were heading Honolulu-bound and that the truck had gone into the median as it was attempting to make a U-turn to get back onto the Kailua-bound lanes. The truck's rear was protruding into the left town-bound lane when the Matrix crashed into it, police said.

An 83-year-old woman, believed to be Muraoka's wife, was at the Queen's Medical Center in serious condition, police said.

The truck is owned by Windward Side Recovery and Trucking.

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allie wrote:
We have these horrendous crashes every day it seems. What is going on?
on January 10,2013 | 08:55AM
inverse wrote:
To start how about the age of the driver listed as in his 80's. High probability this played a factor in this death. No one likes age discrimination but at a certain point family members have to say NO to aged parents from continuing to drive BEYOND what their bodies and mind are physically capable of. The degradation in ability to drive is not sudden, there are plenty of warning signs in advance to determine when an older person can no longer safely drive on the roads.
on January 10,2013 | 09:34AM
allie wrote:
true..but most are much younger speeding drivers who are on meth, drunk or who simply lack the intelligence to drive an auto with wheels and an engine
on January 10,2013 | 09:39AM
inverse wrote:
But that is NOT the case in this situation.
on January 10,2013 | 09:47AM
honopic wrote:
Question for you, allie. What kind of auto does not have wheels and an engine?
on January 10,2013 | 11:51AM
8082062424 wrote:
Do you drive allie?
on January 10,2013 | 03:51PM
speed808 wrote:
@ inverse, I totally agree. Airline pilots have a age limit, so should car drivers. Driving in your high 80's is not safe, the reaction time is slower and judgement is poor. I know it takes the freedom away from older people, but you have to draw the line somewhere.
on January 10,2013 | 09:42AM
cojef wrote:
Jumping to conclusion does not serve the commenters point of view. With the minimum amount of details, according to the article the driver preceding the Toyota Yaris, attempted to make a u-turn. Illegal u-turn? It does not indicate speed, distance or nature of roadbed. Guess from my comments I am a senior? Yes, 87 and still driving on California freeways.
on January 10,2013 | 11:09AM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
It is up our shall i say incompetent legislature, which needs to severely limit those driving once they reach a certain age, such as 65. The age at which one can join AARP is 50. The official age of retirement is 62, to collect Social Security from the Feds. The age at which one can get a discount at Zippy's is 65. The age at which one can receive a 10% discount, only on Wednesdays, is 55 at Samurai Snacks in the Aiea Shopping Center. The age at which one can get Medicare is 65. The age at which some drivers still drive is 85 and higher. omg.
on January 10,2013 | 11:14AM
steelinhome wrote:
How about re-certification road tests? People of all ages exhibit bad traffic behavior.
on January 10,2013 | 11:24AM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
That is right. This is a safety issue, not creating more government bureaucracy.
on January 10,2013 | 11:40AM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
When one gets stopped by the blue strobe lights of HPD, i guess that is supposed to make one become a better driver, including taking the DIP, Driver Improvement Program Course, from the State, as a condition of renewal of your Driver's License. Then again, i wonder how many that get stopped for going way over the speed limit really have car insurance for example. Traffic Court sometimes gives drivers too many chances. When the ultimate happens, such as a death, it is too late. NEED TO STOP TAKING SHORT CUTS. WE ARE ALL OHANA. AND ESPECIALLY WATCH FOR ELDERLY PEDESTRIANS AND SLOW MOVING VEHICLES.
on January 10,2013 | 11:48AM
hokuahi wrote:
on January 10,2013 | 11:49AM
honopic wrote:
Remember what you said when you turn 65. If you make it that long.
on January 10,2013 | 11:52AM
copperwire9 wrote:
Oh that's right. It's the legislature's fault that the tow truck was trying to make a u-turn where one is not allowed. Of course it is.
on January 10,2013 | 12:22PM
copperwire9 wrote:
Let's talk about the towtruck trying to make a U-TURN (???) on Pali Highway near the entrance to the tunnel.
on January 10,2013 | 12:21PM
niimi wrote:
Age was not a factor here. If that tow truck's bed swung wide into the traffic lane at the last moment and that Toyota was coming downhill, there wouldn't be much time to react for anyone. Those long trucks, when they make sharp turns the back can swing out wide.
on January 10,2013 | 10:38PM
CriticalReader wrote:
The condition of the Pali may be an issue. The third world condition of that highway/road is ludicrous. Here is the telephone number for the Director of the State Department of Transportation. Call. Demand the Pali be repaired to a safe condition. Number: 587-2150
on January 10,2013 | 10:39AM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
Yes shut down the Pali for whatever time is needed. We can use the H-3 and the Likelike, while the Pali is being repaired. On the other hand, the Pali and the Likelike go up to a high point into the tunnels and then start going downhill, which is not great when one considers that the speed limit is allowed to be 45 MPH and that some really go 15 MPH over and omg travel at 60 MPH on both the Pali Highway and the Likelike Highway. On the other hand, the State may be reticent to do any repairs while we are burdened by the Train. As The Hawaiian Islands Churn lol. There are many in the construction industry just waiting to put their talents to use, even if they have to repair roads, compared to building Houses, so please go forward and improve our quality of life: NEIL ABERCROMBIE, i think we are talking loud enough.
on January 10,2013 | 11:26AM
Mahalo wrote:
The article also says the truck was attempting to make a U-turn. Was this legal?
on January 10,2013 | 11:05AM
inverse wrote:
No, but at 9:20 am the sun was up, visibility was good and it was not raining as the Pali Hwy in the picture was dry. Despite the trucks bone head maneuver, thie elderly driver should have had adequate time to see the potential hazard in the road and react appropriately which is to SLOW DOWN or stop his car BEFORE he hit the back of the truck. For most drivers with adequate driving ability there would be no collision, but followed by heavy use of the horn and choice swear words. That is a big truck and does not move quickly due to it large mass. Adequate driving ability requires sufficient reflexes and most of the 80 something people I know do NOT move, hear or see very well and quick reflexes and reaction time are non-existent. Given these conditions, if they have to drive, they need to stay on the surface streets and do NOT drive on the freeways/highways like H1, H2, H3, Pali, Likelike, etc.
on January 10,2013 | 12:35PM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
Mahalo Nui Loa, I Like Your Comment, 110%.
on January 10,2013 | 06:32PM
polekasta wrote:
FYI, it is legal to make a U-turn in that area.
on January 10,2013 | 08:13PM
akamaiperson wrote:
Another local news source says that HPD has opened a negligent homicide investigation.
on January 10,2013 | 11:19AM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
on January 10,2013 | 11:28AM
fairgame947 wrote:
The C&C requires those over certain age renew their licenses more often. They need to be the ones to determine if the driver is fit to continue upon renewal.
on January 10,2013 | 11:26AM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
I think the State makes the laws though. The counties on all islands merely issue and renew licenses, as fit. For example if one has an outstanding traffic violation, one cannot renew their driver's license until the violation is taken care of. And another beef: omg i hear that one in seven cars are uninsured. I think it is time that those who do not have insurance not be allowed to renew their driver's licenses and also not be allowed to renew their car registration. This is a law issue. This is where the Legislature comes in. NEIL ABERCROMBIE do u hear us?? This would cut down the population of the cars on the roads by 1/7 = 14%. And we can try to think that the remainder of the cars on the road would be law abiding to the max, so that accidents and unfortunate deaths would be minimized.
on January 10,2013 | 11:37AM
honopic wrote:
Some fuzzy thinking here. "i hear that one in seven cars are (sic) uninsured" is just that -- hearsay. Where is your proof? Where are the figures? And cars cannot be re-registered without a current safety check, which requires proof of insurance. Finally, the Governor does not make the laws -- the Legislature does. So complain to your own district legislators, instead of pointing the finger at the Governor. That is, if you happen to know who they are.
on January 10,2013 | 12:02PM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
Lol my district is on the planet Mars.
on January 10,2013 | 12:06PM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
By the way i challenge u to take an IQ test.
on January 10,2013 | 12:08PM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
Thirdly Neil can make a difference in his State of The State Address, lol.
on January 10,2013 | 12:09PM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
And fourth i am going to do something else, so this is the last u will hear of me, until 1829 hours this evening.
on January 10,2013 | 12:10PM
bumba wrote:
What are you going to do. Pick your boogers?
on January 10,2013 | 02:03PM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
on January 10,2013 | 06:27PM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
One of the weirdest crashes i witnessed was when a white stretch limo ran a red light on Kalanianaole Highway going Ewa bound at Niu Valley, at the intersection of the street that goes into Niu Valley Shopping Center, the one with the 7-11 and a KFC. I was waiting at the traffic light to turn East Into Kalanianaole Higheay, when the stretch limo just ran the red light and rammed into a car. That person probably lost his license for maybe life and fired by the limo company. Maybe sleep and overwork was a factor. This happened like maybe five years ago. Omg, to see and hear a crash at ground zero is disheartening. It did not look like anyone was hurt bad though. The limo i think T-boned the car.
on January 10,2013 | 12:05PM
LizKauai wrote:
God Bless. Heavenly Consolation.
on January 10,2013 | 01:46PM
63crusader wrote:
In 1965 I had an accident in the exact same spot. A car in front of me decided to make that u-turn at the last minute with no signal. Rather than rear end them I pulled the wheel to the left and went up on the traffic island. The island there is very high and the car flipped and rolled several times but my brother and I only got cut up a bit. In those days no seat belts.....we were lucky to survive. They say when stuff like this happens your life flashes before your eyes. What flashed before my eyes as we were rolling over was that it was my moms car that she just got painted and I thought boy will she be pissed off at me when she sees all the dents and scratches. Maybe the State should consider getting rid of this U-Turn spot before the tunnels! R.I.P. to this poor family I'm sorry for your loss.
on January 10,2013 | 02:00PM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
There is really a U-Turn there that is allowed? Then the Family of the deceased driver could use the State for ONE BILLION DOLLARS.
on January 10,2013 | 06:23PM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
Lol sue not use. Although use is also a good way to get the State for a bil.
on January 10,2013 | 06:36PM
Giligan wrote:
If you sue the State, you sue you and me.
on January 11,2013 | 05:13AM
gobows wrote:
i hope they have insurance.
on January 10,2013 | 04:11PM
islandsun wrote:
Some drivers should give it up already. Driving after 75 should not be allowed. Even see pedestrians who should be in a care home crossing the street. But then again, most pedestrians act worse than an old lady on crutches when they are cossing streets. And dont forget the fresh off the boat drivers. It never gets better.
on January 10,2013 | 04:18PM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
I know a couple, both in their mid-80s, who were long time family friends, where the husband is a World War II veteran, who both have cars that have the World War II Veteran license plates, and the husband, who is about 85 or 86, with a pacemaker, insists on keeping on driving. I had a chat last summer with the wife also about 83 or 84, and i warned her to not to let the husband keep on driving. The wife tells me that the husband insists that he is an excellent driver and wants to keep on driving. I warned her that not only will the husband be a danger to himself, however what if the husband runs over a bunch of school kids on the sidewalk? I have this on You Tube, as "Chat with a Friend".
on January 10,2013 | 06:17PM
nitpikker wrote:
don't know all the facts of the case but ONE THING i do know is too many idiots with broken left hands who don't signal turns !!
on January 10,2013 | 04:22PM
Snator wrote:
Nah, they just trying to save their blinker fluid... but agree on the lack of turn signals used here.
on January 10,2013 | 05:46PM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
An Officer once told me to turn on my blinking signal. I mean i know what I am going to do, however do we want to keep it a guessing game? Better with no accident, than sorry.
on January 10,2013 | 06:19PM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
Both vehicles were owned by Windward Side Recovery and Trucking? If yes then the Tow Truck had no business attempting to make a U-Turn at the exit of the tunnel. I remember an incident where a van was stopped in the fast lane of the H-1 East and had i not been alert and "DA BES DEFENSIVE DRIVA IN DA WORLD", i might have rear ended that stopped vehicle. Another You Tube video? YES !!! Mainly because i keep my camera rolling all da time. It is called "Van stopped in Fast Lane leads to Near Disaster".
on January 10,2013 | 06:06PM
entrkn wrote:
If any part of that truck was protruding onto the highway, the driver is guilty of negligent homicide... and if Hawaii's crack so-called system of justice does not put this criminal away, I will be nauseated.
on January 10,2013 | 06:23PM
tarheel4life wrote:
Tow truck driver at fault. The U-turn he was attempting to make was ILLEGAL. Lawsuit coming down the pipe for sure.
on January 10,2013 | 07:50PM
niimi wrote:
Even if you're a 40 year-old driver with decent reflexes, imagine a truckbed suddenly poking out into your lane at the last instant. Could you react in time when coming on a descent? If the truck was in the median, I know that the back will swing out on some long, large vehicles as they make sharp turns--like a U-turn. The tow truck could have been in the median, but when attempting the sharp turn I surmise his truckbed swung out into traffic in lane 1 and into the path of that Toyota. The car looks more like a Toyota Matrix than a Yaris.
on January 10,2013 | 10:37PM
Giligan wrote:
Professional truck drivers have no business causing damage or endangering lives. That is what they are paid for. The owners of the trucks are liable and need to be very strict with their drivers.
on January 11,2013 | 05:11AM
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