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Police car hits, kills man in wheelchair

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Police have opened a third-degree negligent homicide investigation into the death of a 44-year-old man in a wheelchair who was struck by an on-duty police officer Friday night on a Kalaeloa street.

Police said the 34-year-old male officer had been transporting two 17-year-old boys in a marked police car when he hit the man at 8:23 p.m. on Enterprise Street near Wright Street, a lightly trafficked area at that hour.

“The stretch of road does not have any street lights,” Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha said at a news conference Saturday afternoon at police headquarters. “Anytime you don’t have lighting in the area, and you can’t be seen by other drivers, it is dangerous.”

The victim, a homeless man known to people in the area, was not in a crosswalk when he was struck, Kealoha said, adding there are also no sidewalks.

“The officer immediately stopped his vehicle and rendered aid to the man,” he said.

Emergency Medical Services transported the man in critical condition to the Queen’s Medical Center-West Oahu, police said.

The officer has three years of service with the Honolulu Police Department and is assigned to the Kapolei station.

Speed and alcohol do not appear to be contributing factors, police said.

Police did not arrest the officer since alcohol did not appear to be a factor on his part, Kealoha said.

The police department has placed the officer on administrative leave, which is standard procedure in such cases, for up to three days.

Police have opened an administrative investigation, as well as the third-degree negligent homicide case, which is a misdemeanor.

Police will be looking into what the officer was doing at the time, whether there were any distractions, collecting witness statements and analyzing the forensic evidence.

The Medical Examiner’s Office will perform an autopsy Monday, and has not yet identified the man.

This was the 44th Oahu traffic fatality, compared with 42 the same time last year.

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