DUI death heralds holiday hazards
Police and MADD aim to halt the annual rise in traffic fatalities related to alcohol
A 25-year-old Wahiawa woman died Saturday night after the car she was driving collided with several other cars near Dole Plantation in Central Oahu.
Police said she was likely drinking before getting behind the wheel.
Alcohol-related fatalities in Hawaii during the holiday season have increased during the past three years, a trend police and Mothers Against Drunk Driving are trying to stop.
"This problem hasn't been solved," said Connie Abram, executive director of MADD Hawaii. "This is a reminder to the public that we need to keep our celebrations happy, not filled with tragedy."
MADD-Hawaii kicked off its annual holiday awareness campaign last week and is stressing the increase in drunken-driving deaths over the holidays.
In 2002 there were three alcohol-related traffic fatalities statewide between November and January. The figure doubled in 2003.
There were 10 last year.
Saturday's crash happened at about 7:11 p.m. on Kamehameha Highway near Nui Avenue.
Police said the woman's black 2003 Honda Civic was headed toward Haleiwa when it sideswiped an oncoming car, hit a second oncoming car head-on, spun around facing the opposite direction and was then rear-ended by a fourth car. Police believe that in addition to drinking, the woman could have been speeding.
"My heart goes out to the victims of this crash," said Abram. "We desperately need the public to take a part in preventing this problem. It is killing those around us. It is happening on roads that each of us drive on every single day."
The 25-year-old was pronounced dead at Wahiawa General Hospital. Her name has not been released.
She is the 67th person to die on Oahu roads this year, compared with 56 at the same time in 2004.
The driver and two adult passengers of a 2003 Dodge pickup that was hit head-on were taken to the Queen's Medical Center with minor injuries.
The drivers of the other two vehicles were not injured.
Police have already stepped up sobriety checkpoints to deter drunken driving during the holiday season. In a program that started last month, police have pledged to have at least one checkpoint per week.
Closer to the holidays, more checkpoints will be added.
Holiday traffic deaths in Hawaii
From November to January:
Source: Mothers Against Drunk Driving