Friends of the critically injured driver of a pickup truck struck during the deadly Kakaako crash earlier this week have set up a GoFundMe campaign for medical expenses.
Pono Nauka was the sole driver of the truck that was stopped at a light, waiting to turn left onto Ala Moana Boulevard, according to the campaign, when another pickup truck driven by 27-year-old Alins Sumang allegedly crashed into him and plowed into pedestrians at the Kamakee Street intersection.
“We are being told that if Pono’s truck wasn’t there, more deaths would have been likely as his truck stopped the other vehicle from striking more pedestrians on the other side of the street,” said the campaign.
In addition to a broken pelvic bone, the campaign says he suffers from fractured ribs, spinal vertebrae damage and other internal injuries. He has already undergone emergency surgery, and is on a long road to recovery, friends said, with substantial medical bills.
The GoFundMe campaign aims to reach $35,000 to help Nauka and his family with medical expenses. As of this morning, nearly $25,000 had been raised.
“Pono has been there for many of us over the years and is ALWAYS the first to step-up to help others in need,” said the campaign. “Those who know him, know he is the one person you can count on, no matter what. It is his ohana now in need so please kokua.”
GoFundMe takes a 2.9 percent processing fee plus 30 cents per donation, according to spokeswoman Kate Cichy, to cover the cost of third-party credit card processors and the secure transfer of funds. Donations are tax deductible only if given to a registered charity.
An email link connects to Aaron Ogata of Honolulu, who confirmed by email that he is a friend of Nauka’s.