Saturday, November 27, 2004

Police investigated the rolled-over garbage truck and the cars it hit in the Chili's parking lot at Kapolei Shopping Center yesterday. The truck evidently lost its brakes coming down Makakilo Drive, hurdled over parked cars and landed in the Kapolei center. A man who was ejected from the truck and killed was covered by a white sheet.

Man is killed after
truck loses control

The garbage truck ends up
in Kapolei Shopping Center
after its brakes apparently fail

A man was killed and another seriously injured yesterday after a garbage truck that apparently lost its brakes sped down Makakilo Drive, flew over an embankment and skidded to a stop in the Kapolei Shopping Center parking lot, police said.

Several witnesses said the crash could have been much worse if the truck had sped into the nearby intersection or a busier end of the shopping center, which was swarming with holiday shoppers.

"The driver did everything he could to avoid hitting cars and innocent bystanders on his way down Makakilo Drive," said Pete Whitney, who was on a nearby sidewalk when the accident happened.

"I saw the truck coming down Makakilo Drive," he continued, "and then the truck decided to try and avoid all the cars in the intersection, and then he flew right into the parking lot."

Police said the 31-year-old man killed in the crash was a passenger in the truck. Honolulu Disposal Services Inc. officials said another employee would have been in the vehicle at the time of the accident.

The man started with Honolulu Disposal about a month ago, officials said.

The truck's driver, identified as Tipasa Save, 31, was taken to the Queen's Medical Center in serious condition. He was listed in stable condition last night.

Honolulu Disposal said Save is a veteran driver with more than six years' experience.

The accident happened just before noon yesterday after the garbage truck apparently lost its brakes on Makakilo Drive, according to witnesses and police.

Witnesses said the truck sped down Makakilo Drive at about 45 mph, weaving in and out of lanes to avoid hitting cars. The driver was leaning on his horn as he barreled down the road, and cars were swerving out of the truck's way.

"We saw this big truck losing control," said Nanita Lucero, who was driving two cars behind the garbage truck with her young granddaughter. "He was trying to avoid all the cars. He was going fast."

Rather than going to the busy Fort Barrette Road intersection near the shopping center, the truck's driver got into the H-1 freeway eastbound onramp and swerved onto a dirt patch lined with a hedge.

The truck rammed through the shrubs and flew over an embankment at the rear of the Chili's Restaurant parking lot, said Honolulu Police Department Sgt. Hypolito Javier.

A police officer investigated yesterday the twisted wreckage of a garbage truck that apparently lost its brakes coming down Makakilo Drive and ended up at the Kapolei Shopping Center. One man was killed and another seriously injured in the incident.

Witnesses said the truck's passenger was ejected midair and landed in the restaurant's parking lot.

When the truck hit, it skidded for several feet and then rolled over onto the passenger. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The truck's driver was ejected once the truck lurched to a stop. Police said neither man appeared to be wearing a seat belt.

Kapolei resident Dan Hauck and his two young girls were in their car after buying lunch at McDonald's when the garbage truck landed near their car.

The truck skidded, crushing the front end of Hauck's Honda Accord. It also damaged another vehicle as it came to a stop.

"I'm thanking God that we're OK," said Hauck, who was uninjured along with his children, "but I'm also saddened by the fact that someone lost their life."

Hauck said he saw the truck pin and roll over the passenger.

"There was blood everywhere," he said.

Once the truck stopped, Hauck ran to check on the truck's driver, who was trying to get up. He told the man to stay down while he went to call 911. The driver had blood coming from his nose and appeared to have several broken bones, Hauck said.

Police were still investigating the accident last night and had not determined whether there were other factors in the crash.

The truck lay on its side in the parking lot for hours yesterday, with its carriage nearly ripped from its bed, as police surveyed the scene. It took a heavy-duty tow wagon and nearly five hours for crews to right the truck and take it away.

Police said it is unclear where the truck may have lost its brakes.

In June 2003 a garbage truck lost its brakes in Kalihi and slammed into three cars along Kula Kolea Drive before coming to a stop. The truck's driver sustained minor injuries in the accident.


Star-Bulletin reporter Rod Antone contributed to this report.



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