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Newswatch
Police, Fire, Courts

By Star-Bulletin Staff

Tuesday, June 11, 2002


High court rules doctors liable for third-party harm

The state Supreme Court has ruled that physicians can be held liable for third-party injuries if they negligently prescribe medication that causes a patient to suffer adverse effects.

The high court released its opinion yesterday in regards to a U.S. District Court lawsuit stemming from a 1997 incident. On Aug. 8, 1997, teenager Kathryn McKenzie was seriously injured when she was struck by an automobile driven by Jerry I. Wilson, who was under medication prescribed by a Kaiser Permanente doctor, court documents say.

McKenzie sued Kaiser Permanente and Wilson, alleging malpractice and seeking damages for personal injury. Both McKenzie and Wilson claim that the accident was caused by a fainting episode "precipitated by the negligent prescription of medication to Wilson by Dr. Robert Washecka, an employee of Kaiser."

Before the case went to trial, federal court officials asked the Supreme Court to clarify under state law whether a physician owes a "legal duty" to those injured in an accident "caused by his or her patient's adverse reaction to a medication that the physician negligently prescribed."

The justices answered yes, as long as "the circumstances are such that the reasonable patient could not have been expected to be aware of the risk without the physician's warning."

Judge throws out lawsuit over photo ticket privacy

A Circuit Court judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii over private information the state provided to the vendor of the now-defunct traffic camera program.

Circuit Judge Gary W.B. Chang said yesterday that the complaint is moot. The project was terminated and the program repealed in April after it met with much opposition from the public and lawmakers. Dozens of the citations were thrown out by the courts.

ACLU legal director Brent White and attorney Brook Hart said they will decide whether to appeal Chang's ruling.

Big Isle road opens nightly for lava views

HILO >> Hawaii Volcanoes National Park has reopened the Chain of Craters Road in evening hours to allow viewing of lava, which is now flowing over the coastal cliff called Paliuli.

The road will be open each night from 6 p.m. to midnight, the park announced.

It had been closed since May 31 due to smoke from the Kupukupu fire caused by the lava.

The fire is now 65 percent contained, the park said.

Visitors wanting to use the road to see the flow should remember that a 45-minute drive from the park entrance is needed to reach an access trail, and another 30-minute hike is needed to arrive at a viewing site, the park said.

Visitors should bring water and one flashlight for each person. There are no facilities of any kind at the site.

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Corrections and clarifications

The Honolulu Star-Bulletin strives to make its news report fair and accurate. If you have a question or comment about news coverage, call Managing Editor Frank Bridgewater at 529-4791 or email him at fbridgewater@starbulletin.com.






Police, Fire, Courts

Police/Fire

By Star-Bulletin staff

Honolulu Police Department Crimestoppers

NEIGHBOR ISLANDS

Big Isle police arrest 3 in North Kona drug raid

Big Island police arrested two men and a woman following a raid on a suspected drug house yesterday.

Police also seized 357 grams of black tar heroin valued at about $70,000 during the raid at the Wailua Road home in North Kona.

Detective Ernest Saldua said the "drug house" was equipped with audio and video surveillance equipment to identify people approaching the house.

Police seized the equipment, drug paraphernalia and $3,165 in the 6:45 a.m. raid.

Two men, 43 and 46, and a woman, 40, were arrested on suspicion of promoting dangerous drugs and possessing drug paraphernalia. They were being held in the Kona police station pending further investigation.

Big Island police seek missing woman, 23

Big Island police are asking for information to help them locate a 23-year-old woman who has been missing since last month.

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Twila Star Houston, possibly a student at the University of Hawaii-Hilo, was last seen at an Alahelenui Street address, where she had been renting a room, police said.

Houston is described as 5 feet 6 inches, 125 pounds, with medium build, fair complexion, blond hair and blue eyes.

Police said according to her landlord, Houston never mentioned any family members and had left all her personal belongings behind.

Anyone with information is asked to call Officer Daylan Asuncion at 961-2311, the police nonemergency number at 935-3311 or CrimeStoppers at 961-8300 in Hilo or 329-8181 in Kona.

Missing California girl turns up unharmed

A 16-year-old California girl who was missing for five days at a Big Island hotel returned to her parents unharmed yesterday.

Police said Kimberly Brook Ewing, of San Juan Capistrano, apparently did not want to spend time with her parents and went off with other youngsters without telling anyone.

Her parents last saw her Wednesday morning and became concerned after learning that she was last spotted in the hotel lobby Friday.

They contacted police and sought public help in locating the girl. Her parents said they were concerned that she had left without a change of clothes, money, makeup or a cell phone.

"Sixteen-year-old girls don't normally travel without makeup," her father said.

Ewing returned to the hotel yesterday in time to catch a flight home with her parents.

Kauai police investigate death of Wailua man

Kauai police are investigating the death of a Wailua man whose body was found in his home yesterday.

Police were called to the home about 1 p.m. by a neighbor. Officers noted that the body did show signs of injury. The cause of death will be determined in an autopsy tomorrow. The man's identity is being withheld pending notification of his next-of-kin.

CENTRAL OAHU

Woman hurt when object falls through windshield

A 36-year-old Waipahu woman was critically injured in Kunia yesterday when a metal object fell from another vehicle and crashed through the windshield of her car.

Police said the woman was driving south on Kunia Road near Kunia Store at 2:55 p.m. when the accident occurred. The metal object, which police did not identify, fell to the road, bounced up, crashed through the windshield and hit the woman in the head.

The woman then veered off the road and crashed into a metal guardrail. The metal object landed in the back seat where a 2-year-old girl and a 2-month-old girl were sitting in safety seats. Neither child was injured.

The woman was flown to Queen's Medical Center by medivac helicopter where she remained in critical condition this morning.

The accident closed that portion of Kunia Road for several hours as police turned back traffic in both directions to conduct an investigation.

Homemade bomb set off in Mililani Waena Park

Police said someone exploded a homemade bomb in Mililani Waena Park last night but the device caused minimal damage.

Neighbors reported they heard an explosion at 11:51 p.m. and saw about five teenage boys fleeing the park pavilion after the explosion. When officers arrived, they noticed a sink and a wall were scorched.

Police said the explosive device appears to have been placed in the sink. They have not identified any suspects.

Alleged poke in the eye in Wahiawa nets arrest

Honolulu police have charged a 41-year-old man who allegedly poked his girlfriend in the eye last month in Wahiawa.

Calvin Horiuchi was being held in lieu of $11,000 bail after police charged him with abuse of a household member, criminal property damage and unlawful entry into a car.

Police said that on May 20 at 9:40 p.m., the couple got into an argument while Horiuchi's 39-year-old girlfriend was sitting in her car. Horiuchi allegedly reached into the car, grabbed her around her neck and poked her in the eye.

HONOLULU

MidWeek cover photo leads to a fourth arrest

Police yesterday arrested a fourth fugitive featured on the cover of the weekly newspaper MidWeek.

Police said they arrested Dennis Avilla, 37, at 1:15 p.m. when he tried to turn himself in at the Oahu Community Correctional Center. He was wanted on a parole revocation warrant after testing positive for crystal methamphetamine. He had been convicted of reckless endangering and firearms charges.

More than 30 tips have poured into CrimeStoppers since Wednesday in response to the Midweek cover. Anyone with information about other fugitives may call CrimeStoppers at 955-8300 or *CRIME on a cell phone.

Robbery thwarted when glass case wouldn't break

A would-be jewelry store robber fled empty-handed last night after he was unable to break open the store's glass display case and was spotted by security officers.

Police said a man wearing a black ski mask entered a jewelry store in the Ala Moana Hotel at 9 p.m. When the store employee refused to hand over any jewelry, the robber pulled a black handgun from his waistband and repeated his demand, police said.

The man then tried to break the glass with a screwdriver, police said. The glass cracked but did not break. At that time hotel security spotted the suspect who then fled and was able to escape following a brief foot chase.

LEEWARD OAHU

Closet fire in Waipahu causes $6,000 damage

Honolulu fire investigators said a fire that started in a bedroom closet caused an estimated $6,000 damage yesterday to a home on Paiwa Street in Waipahu.

The fire started at around 1:25 p.m. and was brought under control within minutes by firefighters, officials said.

Fire officials said a 10-year-old boy and a 12-year-old girl were at home at the time of the fire, but neither was hurt. Fire investigators have still not determined the cause of the fire.

WINDWARD OAHU

Aikahi woman arrested in alleged May 23 assault

A 23-year-old Aikahi woman suspected of breaking another woman's wrist last month was arrested last night when she returned to the victim's home intoxicated.

Police said the woman went to the victim's home several times, rang the door bell, mumbled and walked away when the victim opened the door.

On May 23, instead of walking away, police said the woman rushed the victim, knocking her to the ground. She left before police arrived. The victim suffered the broken wrist in the fall.

The suspect returned to the victim's home about 8 p.m. yesterday and rang the door bell. She was arrested after the victim called police.





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