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Thursday, May 30, 2002



art
DEAN SENSUI / DSENSUI@STARBULLETIN.COM
Richard Pontin points out some of the scuff marks on the helmet he was wearing when a white Honda struck his motorcycle in Waianae.




Motorcycle rider
a hit-run victim

Police are seeking to identify
the driver who left the scene


By Rod Antone
rantone@starbulletin.com

Sixty-one-year-old Makaha resident Richard Pontin spent two weeks in intensive care after a car broadsided him while he was riding his motorcycle in Maili on May 12.

But even after suffering a shattered ankle, separated shoulder and other injuries, Pontin still hopes to get back to riding. "I think my wife has other thoughts," he noted.

"I'll break his other leg," confirmed his wife, Shirlyn.

There is more laughter as Pontin's oldest daughter, Lydia, threatens to break his motorcycle.

Pontin's sense of humor disappeared, however, when asked about the person in the car who left him for dead on the side of the road. After a long pause he said, "I hope they never end up the same way."

Police said Pontin was Honolulu-bound on Paakea Road when he crossed the Iliili Road intersection at 2:30 p.m. That is when police believe the car may have run a stop sign and struck Pontin on the left side of his motorcycle.

Pontin was thrown about 30 feet onto the side of the roadway, and his motorcycle landed in the grass upside down.

The impact was so great, it ripped the front bumper off the vehicle.

Five minutes later, a tow truck driver found Pontin and called 911.

After that, Pontin said, everything was a blur. "The first couple of days, I didn't know where I was," he said.

The day after the accident, police located the vehicle at the makai end of Iliili where someone had set it on fire. Even with the damage, police were able to match the vehicle identification number of the car with the front license plate, which was left at the scene along with the car bumper.

"It appears that someone torched the car to get rid of the evidence of the hit and run," said CrimeStoppers Detective Letha DeCaires.

Police are looking for witnesses who may have seen the vehicle driving in the area of Iliili and Paakea on May 12 or if they have information that may lead to identifying the driver. The vehicle is described as a white two-door Honda Accord with license plate number FWC-213. Police said they believe the driver was female.

Anyone with information can call Officer Mark Brown at 529-3499 at the Vehicular Homicide Section or CrimeStoppers at 955-8300, *CRIME on a cellular phone.

Pontin is also hoping the driver is caught.

"They could (have) look(ed) to see if I was breathing, anything," he said. "My God, call somebody, or have somebody call somebody. Just don't leave them there."



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