POSTED: 6:15 a.m. HST, May 14, 2014
LAST UPDATED: 3:56 p.m. HST, May 14, 2014
A driver apparently lost control of a speeding van, which hit a curb, went airborne, hit a coconut tree and plunged into the Ala Wai Canal early Wednesday morning.
The 29-year-old Waimanalo man was able to get out of the van on his own. Police said the van had been reported stolen.
Police arrested the driver at the scene near Kalakaua Avenue about 4:15 a.m. for investigation of driving under the influence of an intoxicant, driving without a license, and auto theft. Paramedics then took him to the hospital in serious condition.
Waikiki resident Tim DeVault said he heard the crash from the Hawaiian Monarch on the corner of Niu Street and Ala Wai Boulevard.
"The sound was an apocalyptic spin-out, then there was a huge bang," he said by phone.
He left his apartment to investigate and saw the man already out of the canal and a rescue diver trying to locate the van submerged in the murky water.
DeVault said he heard the man tell an emergency responder that he didn't know what happened.
Tow trucks were called to the scene at about 5 a.m. to remove a Dodge Caravan, but could not remove the vehicle, which was completely submerged in the canal.
The tow truck operators said removing the van could be expensive.
A spokesman from the mayor's office said police contacted All Island Towing to remove the van.
The vehicle owner is usually charged for the tow, but in this case, since the vehicle was stolen, the suspect is likely to be billed, the spokesman said.
The state Department of Land and Natural Resources, which manages for the canal, is allowing police to take the lead because the case involves a stolen vehicle, said department spokeswoman Deborah Ward.