Baby dies after Waimanalo hit-and-run
  • Thursday, April 25, 2019
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Baby dies after Waimanalo hit-and-run

  • Police arrested Annie Akau, 26, of Waimanalo in connection with the hit-and-run accident.
  • LEILA FUJIMORI / LFUJIMORI@STARADVERTISER.COM

    Apickup truck struck a 6-month-old boy and a 3-year-old boy Monday evening in a crosswalk on Kalanianaole Highway at Wailea Street near the Waimanalo Beach Park.

The 6-month-old boy who was taken to a hospital in critical condition after he, his mother and a 3-year old boy were struck by a vehicle in Waimanalo has died, according to the baby’s aunt.

The mother is grieving and the 3-year-old boy is fighting for his life, said Genevieve Kalahiki during a phone interview from Las Vegas. “We just pray over the doctors and the nurses to try to do their best.”

Police arrested Annie Akau, 26, of Waimanalo last night in connection with the hit-and-run accident involving the trio.

Akau was arrested at her home Monday at 11:30 p.m. on suspicion of negligent injury, operating a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant, driving without a license, endangering the welfare of a minor and other offenses.

At about 6:46 p.m., police said the woman was traveling westbound on Kalanianaole Highway in a white 1997 Chevy S-10 pickup truck with a 38-year-old man when she struck the family who was crossing the roadway in a marked crosswalk near Oluolu Street.

The truck then sideswiped a silver 2010 Honda Elantra driven by a 36-year-old Kailua man who had stopped on the eastbound lane to allow the family to cross.

The truck then stopped and Akau fled the scene, leaving the truck behind. Police also arrested the 38-year-old man for hindering prosecution.

About five hours later, officers located Akau at her home.

Police said speed and alcohol are factors.

The 24-year-old woman and 3-year-old boy were transported to Castle Medical Center and Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children, respectively, in serious condition. Police said the 6-month-old boy was transported to Castle Medical Center in “extremely critical condition.”

Emergency Medical Services reported both the 6-month-old and 3-year-old were treated for head injuries.

A baby stroller remained partially beneath the front of the truck while police investigated.

“I heard the screeching tires,” said Lynn Mattson, 64, who lives behind the 7-Eleven. She said the infant “was still stuck in the stroller in front of the truck. … The 3-year-old was lying on the corner in front of the crosswalk.”

Mattson said the family just had dinner at the father’s mother’s home. The mother was pushing the stroller with the baby and the father was walking right behind them.

When she arrived, the father was yelling and the mother was screaming, Mattson said.

She accompanied the father and got the baby out of the stroller. She held the baby because the father was so distraught.

“He was just a little thing,” she said. “All he was doing was gasping and vomiting.”

“People just need to slow down,” she said.

She recalls at least two other accidents in the area, one fatal.

Kalahiki said the area where her sister and her two children were hit is dark and doesn’t have any street lights and no stop light at the crosswalk where the family was struck.

She said she hopes the state Department of Transportation will install lights in the area. “This is just ridiculous,” she said. “The Department of Transportation needs to something.”

“I just don’t want this to happen to anybody else,” Kalihiki said.

Kalahiki said they were on their way to 7-Eleven to get ice cream for the children when the family was struck by the pickup truck.

Another woman said the new LED street lights make it difficult for drivers to see and believes that may have contributed to the crash and others. She said the community has complained to the Department of Transportation.

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    • Good, I hate chicken sh-t cowards that run away from the scene of an accident. Accidents happen but there should be a mandatory minimum jail sentence without parole of at least 10 years for scum bags that flee and don’t even try to help victim.

  • “6-month old boy,” “‘The eleven month old . . .'” Like any breaking story relying on witness statements, it’s easy to lose track of just who’s who.

    Another thing: by including a witness statement about “new LED lights” being a possible contributory factor in the accident, is the writer referring to the headlights belonging to the truck involved in the collision, or an oncoming vehicle’s LED headlights, or some new overhead LED street light illuminating the crosswalk?

  • I have seen the LED lights– they are street lights. They are a problem because they do not light the road the same way thatt the old lights did. One complaint has been that the LED lights create more blue in the spectrum which interferes with sleep, hence the span of the lights have been limited according to the City so as not to shine on homes. If you have seen the lights you can see the results– the light is more like a dim spot light shining in a small area vs the widespread illumination of the old lights. The lights do not illuminate bedrooms, but neither do they light up yards and sidewalks. Even parked cars are not illuminated as well and they do not illuminate crosswalks (both marked and unmarked cross walks).

      • And another thing, the street lights hit the drivers in the eyes as they approach each light. Could be avoided if the housings were just rotated a bit to face the direction of where traffic is going.

        • Making the light shine into the eyes of oncoming drivers in the other lane. Really?

          Suffice it to say the lights were designed and tested by qualified engineers who know far more than you ever will.

          Root cause of the accident is an alcohol impaired driver. Pedestrians should always watch approaching cars while in a crosswalk. Way to many distracted and utterly rookie drivers out there.

      • state going get sued anyway because she going blame the lights was blinding her..yes LED’s are not as good as the old HPS lamps..only thing good about LED’s are that they save energy..LED’s are not the way to go as far as street lights go..it doesn’t spread out like the old lamps..there’s alot of dark spots..the white light looks nice but it’s not good for your eyes or your sleep..but the public thinks it’s a good idea because it saves money..so again you can thank the public for these LED lights

        • Agree cause is quite likely due to drunk driving. If the lights are the white ones vs the older pinkish ones, I think the white lights are a vast improvement in being able to discern colors and shapes in the road ahead. The pink lights make everything look like an old, grainy, dimly lit black and white movie.

      • thanks bumbai – I was ready to comment about blaming the lights. I guess ALL DRIVERS do not know to stop when another car is stopped?? And at a crosswalk? I see this all the time when I am driving/riding/walking. Cars gunning thru a crosswalk when other vehicles, in both directions are STOPPED. These kinds of people should get 50 years added to their sentence.
        So awful. My condolences to the family.

    • People grumble a lot about LED illumination, both as headlights and as streetlights. What’s really at the root of many complaints is the sharp demarcation of a typical LED beam; unlike the older incandescent lights, most LED lights do not gradually or gently diffuse to nothingness. Instead, there is a sharp, hard edge to the beam that many people take to be excessive glare. Most of us have seen such lights and there’s no doubt they can be quite distracting if not downright annoying. If you couple that kind of hard-edged lighting with the misaligned headlights a lot of Hawaii vehicle owners seem to get away with, the results can be blinding – especially if you happen to be driving a low sedan and the other guy a much higher SUV or pickup truck.

  • Slow down! Anyone familiar with Waimanalo knows that people cross by the 7-11 and by Nakini Street. If only folks would drive with aloha and caution. Drivers need to be alert, especially when we know where the crosswalks and hazards are.

    • Exactly… unless the fleeing 26 year old woman slowed to a crawl then out of no where sped up and mowed the pedestrians down, the parents in the crosswalk are equally culpable in this tragic event. Pedestrians need to be sure that drivers acknowledge them before they cross. Either that or cross ONLY when there are no cars coming in both directions.

      • At this point in time, none of us know the full details. Blaming the parents is heartless. Condolences to the ohana and loved ones of the baby, and wishes for recovery to the other child and mother.

        • Like I said, unless the car randomly sped up and mowed them over, the parents are also responsible. You don’t just assume a car sees you and will slow down for you as you cross. WAIT til they slow to a crawl and acknowledge you by waving you to go OR wait til there are no cars coming in either direction. Sad to say…but all pedestrians crossing a street need to assume every driver on the road is drunk. Condolences to family and friends of the lost child. Hopefully the driver spends the rest of her life behind bars.

      • Let’s get this straight: A mother pushing a baby stroller and leading a 3-year-old by the hand in a marked crosswalk is equally culpable to someone who was arrested “…on suspicion of negligent injury, operating a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant, driving without a license, endangering the welfare of a minor and other offenses…” And, she fled the scene.

        No, she hasn’t been indicted, tried or found guilty yet, but if you think she’s guilty and are calling the VICTIMS “equally culpable”, you have an absolutely twisted outlook and hopefully, do not yourself drive.

        • Please. Unless the car was flying down the road at 70 mph or stopped then out of the blue sped up for no reason they are equally culpable. You underestimate how many people drive under the influence… MANY people are drunk when driving. Our govt captures less than .0001% of the offenders. You don’t push a stroller out into the road UNLESS THE CARS STOP FOR YOU FIRST.

        • Please back at you.

          If you assume “every driver on the road is drunk” – your exact words – then, really, nobody should use a sidewalk let alone a crosswalk. While we’re at it, nobody should drive either. That’s as absurd idea as the one where you blame the victim as much as the perpetrator.

          And, no, you don’t have any idea how fast the car was going and clearly have no idea what’s involved in using a crosswalk safely with a stroller and a 3-year-old. Here’s a hint: it’s not a set up well-suited to darting out into traffic.

          And, I repeat: if you’re the kind of person who is going to publicly assign equal “culpability” to an inebriated, unlicensed hit/runner and her victims who were following the rules then you not someone worth meeting in any situation – especially one that involves a motor vehicle.

  • So sad, I drove by that last night. They caught the lady last night, the SA as usual is late with the facts. The lighting is TERRIBLE in that area and yes the new LED lights are not that great. People need to really be defensive out there since its hard for a driver to see anyone on that roadway.

  • HNN reported the driver of the truck was under the influence. So sad these people who drink and drive cause a bad potential fatal accident and then run away from the scene. They themselves deserve death !!!!

  • I just did some crude calculations and figured out that a car traveling 35 miles per hour, will cover about 150 feet in about 3 secs. That is 50 yards, half a football field. Just some perspective for people crossing the streets. Sometimes we think we have time to cross when we really don’t. Please don’t depend on drivers to see you. We must depend on ourselves for our safety. As pedestrians we will lose in a collision.

    • Good point….and as a pedestrian, ALWAYS watch the cars stopping second/third behind the initial driver who is allowing the crossing. Too many close calls fronting our office where the “back drivers” are not paying attention and boom…chain reaction, resulting in the first driver’s car being “rear-ended” into the crosswalk/pedestrian.

      • my son just got his license, I try to preach to him about watching for pedestrians while turning and if you see a stopped car. It is so sad that pedestrians sometimes don’t pay attention to the other cars on the road, I have seen way too many close calls as well as these reported accidents.

  • Hoping for a full and speedy recovery for the 6-month-old, 3-year-old, and their mother. Papa, stay strong for your ohana. They need your strength and aloha, now. Hope you’ll all be home soon, celebrating the holidays together.

    • I just read that the 6-month-old boy had passed. My deepest ALOHA to his ohana. So sad. Especially now, during the holidays. He didn’t even have a chance to celebrate his first Christmas. Slow down people and be aware of your surroundings, especially at crosswalks. DRIVE SAFE…AND PUT AWAY THE CELLPHONE UNTIL YOU’RE OUT OF THE VEHICLE. Today while at a stop light, in my rear view mirror, I was watching the young lady in the van behind me. Every so often, I could see her looking down to her left at something. Every time I moved up slightly so she wouldn’t rear end me, she would move up also, and then look down. When the light turned green, I made sure I was far away from her as possible. What’s so important that drivers have to talk/text while driving? MAYBE they’ll learn AFTER they get into an accident. Hopefully they don’t hurt innocent people, though.

  • So it isn’t just my crummy vision! The new LED lights are not as bright, they cast weird shadows, and hit you right in the eyes. Obviously they are mean’t to be used closer together. Whatever money City thought to save will be wiped out by lawsuit payouts.

    • Uhhhh, what part of “Alcohol impaired driver” did you not understand? I’m guessing all of it.

      LED lights are just fine. Sad to say too many very weak of mind posters starting urban legends.

      • I fully understand the driver was alcohol impaired. I was not in anyway saying that poor lighting excused her bad behavior. Merely making a personal observation that the new lights are not as good as the old, much less better.

        • I am a big fan of the newer white lights. They show color and motion in the road ahead much better and at a much further distance than the old pink ones–which make everything look grainy and dim (at least to me). I’ve never had an issue with the new ones getting in my eyes.

  • HONDA Elantra? Minor detail…

    Akau should have done the HPD DUI evasive maneuver…hide out in the house, go on a bender and then say you only JUST started drinking AFTERWARDS to deal with the stress!!!

  • You know, it can be pitch dark and I can see what is in front of me irregardless of street light. This actually goes to show what an ineffective waste of time the state vehicle safety inspection is. I thought those inspections ensured headlights work. Mine do, but I change from ones that actually work to ones that will pass inspection every year. What a joke! Although this tragedy is an example of being blind drunk.

      • Their definition of a passing headlight does not always provide adequate illumination on a dark road. Now if you have a new Lexus or Acura, those lights work and pass inspection. You put the same projector and bulb into another vehicle, light works, but fail safety inspection.

    • sometimes I think the street lights are worse for driving – the lights out on the freeway (probably due to copper thieves), make driving much easier and I see less drivers not forgetting to turn on their lights.

      BTW – how do copper thieves sell the copper, aren’t there laws about accepting metals?

      • i agree..too many lights on the freeway..yet again we can thank the public for having streetlights on the freeway which are not required..people drive more cautious when there are no lights..the recyclers get away with it because it’s money in their pocket..they ain’t gonna turn away copper cause it’s stolen

      • Yes it is, but we now know that they do otherwise they wouldn’t be stealing it. Probably buying it at pennies on the dollar but with enforcement almost nil, it is worth the risk to some.

  • Too many HIT and RUN Drivers!!! Regardless if its a “fatal accident or not” a mandatory PRISON sentence of 25 years should be applied!

    These heartless and irresponsible low life’s should be removed from society for a LONG time

    • Loss of license and ability to own vehicles for life is what I think they deserve. Same for people who drive drunk. Me thinks many of them have an alcohol addiction. That is a chronic, lifelong problem. The really dangerous drivers are in denial about how impaired they are and proceed down the road. We all know people who are in denial about that.

    • Also hold the owner responsible if they weren’t driving at the time of the crash. If male passenger didn’t stay at the scene the driver who fled would have been unknown. So the owner has to take responsibility driving or loaning their vehicle to others.

  • Back in my day, hit and run was a rarity. Some people have lost the sense of right and wrong. By now, we all know the consequences of alcohol and speed and yet we keep reading about this incidences. Gotta send a strong message in terms of sentences without parole.

  • We pray all ends well with this accident! May the children recover completely. Should this tragedy becomes more than what has transpired, we will continue to pray that the family have the strength to move forward. Let our hugs and love prevail over them as it joined those of whom already cast theirs . God Bless!

  • This is a very sad story.
    For those people fixated on the street lights: If you can’t see ahead clearly, you drive slower. Drive the speed that allows you to stop within the distance you are able to see up to.
    Google maps shows the truck in the photo is stopped about 50 feet beyond the crosswalk and facing eastbound despite the report of going westbound.

  • I just heard that 6 month old didn’t make it….all of us here please say a little prayer for the older sibling still fighting for his life. We pray for his parents, especially his mother, who we know must suffering thru unimaginable grief at this time. And for the other driver, who stopped to allow this family to cross. I can only imagine how that driver must feel too. All the “what ifs” must be going through his/her mind too. In this spirit of Christmas, lets ask for divine prayers for the little one still fighting for his life, and for his family. The court system will deal with that negligent driver. And the harshest punishment will be memories that will haunt her for the rest of her living days..

    • That’s the charge that the retired HPD officer from Mililani pleaded guilty to and got probation (zero jail time). Maybe it depends on whether it’s “first degree” or “second degree”. In any case the person he hit died.

      • Or in most cases, have insurance but only minimum coverage. To which is only good enough for minor fender bender whiplash type of incidents, and often not even that since attorney fees have higher priority and eat up the bulk of it.

        Best thing here is to have the suspect face maximum criminal charges. Baby killers don’t get it easy, and guards are willing to look the other way when they get pounded.

  • If the street lights in the area are not bright, then I don’t believe LED lights are installed because “LED or induction lights, emit a white light that provides high levels of scotopic lumens.”

  • Almost like here on St Johns Rd here. I stop for a lady trying to help 7 kids cross the road. A car stopped in the other direction. Then this lady in a SUV goes around me and almost plowed into all of them. There’s no crosswalk but common sense is something some people don’t have. I even stuck my arm out the window and honked the horn but lady was going too fast.

  • This tragedy makes me sick to my stomach. All of it was so preventable and unnecessary. I hope that hag gets everything she has coming to her. She seems to embody the “Ainokea” attitude that is so prevalent among lowlifes. Condolences to the family of the victims. RIP, Little One.

  • guarantee the family of the deceased is gonna sue the state now because of the LED lights..why or how could someone just flee from the scene and just leave the truck there is beyond me..i hope she rots in jail..but you know our lenient judges will only give her 1 year at most..she’ll just claim she was blinded by the lights

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