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State ordered to pay $3 million for Maui highway plunge

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Maui Circuit Judge Joseph Cardoza has ruled that the state must pay more than $3 million for the deaths of two people who died when their car fell from a scenic overlook on Honoapiilani Highway in 2005.

Cardoza issued his ruling Wednesday, saying the state invited the public to use the overlook, but that drivers did not know that the area was not stable and "the grave danger its condition presented."

Denise Callo, the driver, and James Makekau, a passenger, died when the car fell April 13, 2005 from a remnant of the Old Pali Highway that had been used by the public for decades as an unofficial scenic lookout area, according to Michael Livingston, a lawyer for Makekau’s family.

Two others who were in the car that fell to the shoreline survived the accident.

In a 200-page opinion, Cardoza awarded $1.9 million to Makekau’s family and $1.1 million to Callos’ family. The judge also ordered the state to pay $250,000 to Tiffany Romena, who survived the crash.

 

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