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Drunken driver, company sued for death of student

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The family of a University of Hawaii at Hilo student who was killed when he was dragged under an armored van by a drunken driver in Hilo has sued the driver and the armored-car company he worked for.

Ted Braxton, 22, was a performing arts major from Huntingdon, Pa., who wanted to teach music to children, said the family’s attorney, Wayne Kekina. Braxton’s parents filed the lawsuit March 14 in Oahu Circuit Court.

Braxton was killed May 28 when his mo-ped was struck by an armored car driven by Keolaokalani Kailianu, Kekina said.

Kailianu, 42, was convicted on Jan. 17 of first-degree negligent homicide and accidental death, and is serving a 10-year sentence at Halawa Correctional Facility.

Braxton was driving a mo-ped north on Kinoole Street in Hilo, had the green light and had his light on when Kailianu, traveling south on Kinoole, began a left turn onto Hualalai Street and ran over Braxton and the mo-ped, the lawsuit said.

Braxton was dragged about a block. He was pronounced dead at a hospital.

Kailianu continued to drive the armored van about two miles to his home with the mo-ped stuck under the front of the van, Kekina said.

Kailianu’s blood alcohol content was 0.283, 3 1/2 times the legal limit, Kekina said.

Kailianu "never knew he struck the mo-ped because of the (limited) visibility of the windows and the insulation of the armored van," Kekina said.

Parents Sarah and Donald Braxton of Pennsylvania are also suing C R Dispatch Service Inc., doing business as Security Armored Car & Courier Service of Hawaii, a Honolulu business.

"They clearly should have monitored the employee’s activities through the van’s GPS," Kekina said. The accident took place at 10 p.m.

"The employer is being sued for allowing an intoxicated driver to drive around the community and severely injure a mo-ped rider," he said.

Al Misajon, president of C R Dispatch Service, said Kailianu was off-duty at the time of the accident. Misa­jon would not comment on the lawsuit since the company had not been served with the complaint as of Monday.

Kekina said Braxton’s father told the judge at sentencing of how deeply the family has grieved at losing Ted. "All Ted’s aspirations were snuffed out by the breaking of his body under the wheels of a vehicle operated by an intoxicated Mr. Kailianu," Donald Braxton said.

He added, "Sarah and I often burn with anger for him. But when the anger is spent, we have only an emptiness where a joy used to be," he said.

Ted Braxton would have graduated from UH-Hilo this May.

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