Friends of the man who died after escaping from police and falling off a bridge on the H-1 freeway were shocked to learn he was the victim, described him as a loving father of his 3-year-old son, while his father said he sought mental health help at a Waianae health center earlier that day.
"I’m very sad, shocked," said Paul Aio, the victim’s father, by phone from his Seattle home.
The Honolulu Medical Examiner’s Office identified the man as Pernell Aio, 37, of Ewa Beach.
"He really was a gentle giant," said his friend and co-worker Chelsy, who gave only her first name. "He never did get upset about anything."
Police said Aio’s family brought him to the Kapolei police station Monday afternoon because they were worried about his safety and the safety of others.
Police were transporting him for a medical evaluation in the eastbound lanes of the H-1 freeway at about 4 p.m. Monday when he freed himself from a pair of handcuffs and kicked out a window. After the officer stopped the car, Aio escaped through the window and climbed over the Honouliuli Bridge, police said.
Two officers grabbed him and held him for a few seconds before he fell about 25 feet. He later died.