Thursday, October 14, 2004

Heroism after deadly
’03 pileup brings
HPD awards

Randy Ramos was driving his pickup truck on Farrington Highway last year when a series of collisions occurred in front of him, causing three police motorcycles to careen into a culvert and ignite nearby brush.

"At that moment, everything wen' spin," said the 38-year-old Honokai Hale resident. "It was chaos."

Ramos was among four passers-by and seven police officers who ran into the burning brush and carried out the three solo bike officers in July 2003.

Motorcycle officer Ryan Goto and 10-year-old Alacia Williams were killed after a cardboard box caused a woman driving a car to swerve, setting off the chain reaction of collisions. A negligent-homicide investigation was closed without charges.

Yesterday, the Honolulu Police Department gave out awards for actions in the accident: Certificates of Merit to Ramos and civilians Alexander Ojeda, Harold Silva, Leonard Olsen and Nicole Carlson and to Lt. Sherman Chan and officers Dean Ikei, Denny Santiago, Michael Lucas-Medeiros, Carl Kalani and Renee Okunaga; and HPD's Warrior Bronze Medal of Valor to officers John Jerves and Jared Chong.

The department also honored four other civilians and three officers for meritorious service in other incidents.

"I don't consider me as a hero," Ramos said. "It just happened in front of me, and I was not about to let it go."

Solo bike officer Chong, 38, said the people who assisted police did a lot of good. He did not want to talk about the accident, which took the life of a fellow officer.

"I just wish Ryan was back," said Chong, his eyes red and welling with tears. "I wish I could trade in my award for Ryan."

Ramos' daughter, Valeen, then 19, was with her father when the collisions occurred.

"I was just so shocked, I didn't know what to do," she said. "I never like my dad go in, but he had to help the officer."

She recalled seeing the lifeless body of Alacia Williams being brought in front of their truck.

Looking back a year later, Randy Ramos is glad he did the right thing.

He said it has changed his life. He quit drinking and will graduate in three weeks from an alcohol-treatment program.

Ramos, a father of three, said it has also helped him develop a greater appreciation for his own life and the lives of others, especially children.

He also has a newfound respect for police officers, particularly solo bike officers. "I give my full respect to the solo bike officers," he said.



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