Father held son as he died on road in Nanakuli
Edward Werner told a state jury Thursday that he was sitting in his home office in Nanakuli at about 8:30 p.m. April 24, 2016, when he heard a loud “thump, like something hitting a rubbish can.”
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Edward Werner told a state jury Thursday that he was sitting in his home office in Nanakuli at about
8:30 p.m. April 24, 2016, when he heard a loud “thump, like something hitting a rubbish can.” He said he went outside, crossed Farrington Highway and found his son Kaulana on the ground next to the railroad track that parallels the highway.
“He was bad, he was
really bad. His legs (were) twisted,” but he was still alive, he said.
Werner said he tried to give his son CPR but that his son just looked up at him then closed his eyes — “he was gone.” After that, Werner said, he held his son until police and other first responders arrived.
Desi Miner, the first Honolulu police officer on the scene, said when he first spotted Kaulana Werner’s body, he thought it was a duffel bag because it was rolled up and its head was backward.
Edward Werner was the state’s first witness in the negligent-homicide and
fleeing-the-scene trial of
Myisha Lee Armitage, the motorist accused of killing Kaulana Werner. Both crimes are Class B felonies punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
Deputy Prosecutor Wayne Kokesch told the jury that Armitage, 26, left her work at O’Reilly Auto Parts in Nanakuli that afternoon and met her boyfriend in Ko Olina, where they drank mai tais and shots of alcohol at Monkey Pod Kitchen and Just Tacos Mexican Grill &Cantina. Kokesch said Armitage then drove back to her workplace where she met Joshua Wakinekona and was following him, speeding and weaving in and out of traffic, when she struck Kaulana Werner crossing the highway.
Kokesch said the impact threw Werner 198 feet from where Armitage’s car had hit him. Instead of stopping at the scene as the law requires, he said, Armitage continued driving until her car stalled nearly a mile up the road.
At some point Wakinekona realized Armitage wasn’t behind him, backed up to where her car had stalled and pulled it off the roadway. When he asked Armitage what happened, Kokesch said,
Armitage told Wakinekona, “You gotta get me outta here.”
When police arrived, Kokesch said, Armitage smelled of alcohol and couldn’t walk straight or steady herself. They arrested her and took her to the hospital, where she refused treatment.
While being processed at the Honolulu Police Department’s Pearl City Station, Kokesch said, Armitage asked police what if Kaulana Werner wasn’t in a crosswalk, and told them she had consumed eight beers. The state said
Armitage’s blood alcohol concentration was 0.13. The legal threshold for drunken driving is 0.08.
Defense lawyer Andrew Park told the jurors that they will get to hear Armitage’s side of what happened.
“You’re going to hear reasons why Myisha believes in her heart that she’s not guilty of this, she didn’t cause the death (of Kaulana Werner), although she was there, (and) she didn’t flee the scene.”
Kaulana Werner was 19 years old. He was a 2015 Kamehameha Schools graduate and was on break from Sterling College in Kansas where he studied business and played football. His death prompted the passage of a state law that allows judges to double the sentence of someone found guilty of negligent homicide if the driver also fails to remain at the scene.
The first person to face sentencing under the new law pleaded guilty in June to negligent homicide and fleeing the scene in connection with the hit-and-run death in September of Dr. Eugene Chin in Mokuleia. Jeremy Lee is awaiting sentencing in that case.