Monday, March 14, 2005

Hauula driver facing

Police say that speed and alcohol
played roles in a fatal crash

The 30-year-old driver in a single-car crash on the North Shore late Saturday faces negligent-homicide charges after the accident left a passenger dead.

The medical examiner's office identified the passenger as 23-year-old Patrick V. Ikakoula of Laie. Family members said the man had a 1-month-old son. An autopsy will be performed on him today.

Police said speed and alcohol were factors in the crash, and alcohol was found in the car.

The crash happened on Kamehameha Highway near Pakelo Place about 11 p.m. Saturday. Police said the 30-year-old driver, of Hauula, was speeding northbound on Kamehameha Highway in a black 1997 Honda Civic with Ikakoula and two other passengers when he apparently lost control of the vehicle on a curve.

The car skidded on dirt gravel on the right shoulder and struck a posted speed limit sign. It rolled over before coming to rest, police said.

Ikakoula, who was sitting in the front passenger seat, was ejected from the vehicle into the base of a tree. He had extensive head injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Family members said Ikakoula was headed home after a night out with friends when the accident happened.

"We're still hoping he will walk through that door," said Felila Purcell, Ikakoula's girlfriend. "Nobody believes it."

Police said the car's left rear passenger fled on foot after the accident. The right rear passenger sustained head injuries but refused medical treatment.

The passengers, 19 and 22, are both from Laie.

Police also said that during their investigation the car's driver jumped out of the bushes and allegedly attacked one of the police officers. The 30-year-old was arrested on suspicion of first-degree negligent homicide, driving under the influence and harassment.

The man sustained minor injuries in the accident and was treated at the Castle Medical Center. He was released from police custody yesterday, pending further investigation of the accident.

At the crash scene, a 35-mph speed limit sign still lay flat on the ground yesterday. No seat belts were used by the driver or his passengers. The driver's and front passenger's airbags were deployed.

Police closed Kamehameha Highway for about five hours late Saturday and early yesterday while they conducted an investigation.

Purcell said services for Ikakoula have not yet been set.

His family is expected to arrive in the islands this week from Utah, she said. Ikakoula's death is the 16th traffic fatality in 2005 compared with 14 at the same time last year.

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