A 68-year-old woman was killed and a 94-year-old man was in critical condition Friday night as the result of pedestrian accidents earlier in the day in Makiki and Kaimuki, respectively.
In both cases the pedestrian was in a marked crosswalk when struck by a vehicle. Police are looking for a hit-and-run driver in the Kaimuki case.
The incidents in the first week of the new year prompted the Honolulu Police Department and AARP Hawaii to issue reminders to both drivers and pedestrians to be attentive.
"Both pedestrians and drivers need to watch out for each other. They need to make eye contact with each other, if possible," said Lt. Robert Towne of the Police Department’s Traffic Division.
Oahu’s first traffic-related fatality of 2014 occurred when Edna Funayama of Makiki was hit in the crosswalk at the intersection of Makiki Street and Wilder Avenue.
At about 12:41 p.m. Friday, Funayama was crossing Wilder Avenue fronting St. Clement’s Episcopal Church when she was hit by a white 2005 Ford Explorer driven by a 71-year-old Kailua woman.
A friend of the victim, who declined to give his name, said she had just gotten off the bus after working out at the YMCA.
She was on her way home, a couple of blocks away from the scene of the accident, when she was struck by the vehicle, he said.
"She was a very good woman, very healthy," said her friend, adding that she exercised six days a week at the gym.
Funayama was vigilant when crossing roadways, always using marked crosswalks and looking in both directions, he added. She was to turn 69 next month.
Police said the vehicle hit Funayama as the driver was making a left turn onto Wilder Avenue. Funayama sustained head and internal injuries and was taken in critical condition to the Queen’s Medical Center, where she died a short time later.
An autopsy will be performed Monday.
Five hours earlier the driver of a vehicle fled after hitting the other pedestrian, a Palolo Valley man, at the intersection of Waialae and 5th avenues.
At about 7:37 a.m. the man was crossing Waialae Avenue after shopping for groceries at Times Supermarket when a car, possibly a green sedan, reportedly ran a red traffic light and struck him. Police said the driver fled the scene.
The victim was transported to Queen’s in serious condition. His condition worsened during the day and was downgraded to critical condition.
AARP Hawaii Director Barbara Kim Stanton called the collisions tragic.
Vehicle-pedestrian crashes do not have to happen, she said. "Even if the pedestrian has the right of way and is following the signal lights and in a properly marked crosswalk, the problem is there are some distracted drivers or drivers not adhering to traffic rules," she said.
"The result is a crash in which the pedestrian always loses," she added.
Stanton said AARP Hawaii is continuing to work with the city to make Honolulu’s streets and communities safer.
There were 19 fatal pedestrian accidents last year, compared with 16 in 2012.
"It’s important, given our high percentage of seniors in the community, that we accelerate the progress to make this a safe, healthy community for our residents and visitors," Stanton said.