A 26-year-old woman died Saturday after she was struck by truck at the Kapiolani Community College Farmers’ Market.
University of Hawaii student Annie Runland was setting up a vendor tent for employer Licious Dishes when the incident occurred. She was taken to critical condition to the Queen’s Medical Center, where she later died.
Two other people sustained non-life-threatening injuries.
According to Licious Dishes owner Sylvia Thompson, a truck that was parked near her stall had just moved and another truck owned by Ma’o Farms was trying to maneuver into the stall next to hers.
“I was buying vegetables from one of the other vendors when I heard people screaming,” Thompson said. “I had seen the (Ma’o Farms) truck backing up. I looked back and I saw all the commotion coming from where we were. Everything happened so quickly.”
According to witnesses, the truck was reversing when it suddenly accelerated over a curb and struck Runland.
Thompson said the driver, identified by police as a woman in her 20s, tried unsuccessfully to control the truck.
“She tried to stop it but it went in reverse,” Thompson said. “Then she tried to pull the key out. The key fell out but the engine was still running.”
Another vendor ran to the driver’s aid, holding down the truck’s brakes while someone else disconnected the battery, Thompson said.
Witnesses performed CPR on Runland until paramedics arrived.
“I held her hand and told her, ‘You’ve got to keep going. You can’t leave us yet. Hold on,'” Thompson said.
Thompson’s husband Pete, 64, was also struck by the truck and knocked backward off his feet. He was transported to a local trauma center for examination. A 51-year-old was also grazed by the truck but declined treatment.
The driver of the truck was not injured. The market was canceled for the day.
Police are investigating if the truck had a mechanical issue or if there was driver error, according to Lt. Robert Towne of the Honolulu Police Department Traffic Division.
Thompson said Runland had worked for her Greens & Vines raw vegan restaurant for about two months and was excited to help at the farmer’s market.
“She was so happy and bubbly,” Thompson said. “We just loved her. It’s so sad to know that she’s not going to come back any more.”
News of Runland’s death shocked the close-knit farmer community.
“The Ma’o ohana sends its condolences and sympathy to those involved in today’s tragic event,” the company said in a statement released just after 2 p.m. “The KCC Farmers’ Market staff, vendors and customers are part of our farming family. We send our deepest aloha and prayers in this difficult time. We are working in full cooperation with Honolulu Police Department’s ongoing investigation.”
About 75 vendors were scheduled to attend the market, which is usually open from 7:30 to 11 a.m. on Saturdays, according to the event schedule.
The market is co-sponsored by the Hawaii Farm Bureau Federation and Kapiolani Community College’s Culinary Institute of the Pacific at Diamond Head.
Chris Manfredi, president of the Farm Bureau, said by phone that his organization was grieving.
“Our hearts are with the victims and their families as we learn the facts of this tragic accident,” he said. “We grieve for the precious life that was lost.”