Man critically hurt in Waialua car crash
The number of recent car accidents along Kaukonahua Road worries many residents
A man in his early 60s was taken to the Queen's Medical Center in critical condition yesterday after he was involved in a single-car crash on Kaukonahua Road in Waialua.
Speed might have been a factor, police said. This latest accident has many area residents concerned about the safety of the road.
At about 6:05 a.m. the man, with a residential address in Waialua, was traveling north on Kaukonahua Road near Poamoho Street in a silver 2001 Ford Taurus. Police said he lost control, veered to the left and struck a utility pole.
He was taken to Wahiawa General Hospital after he suffered severe head and multiple bodily injuries. Police said the victim was stabilized at Wahiawa General before he was transported to Queen's.
Police said the crash happened in wet road conditions, but could not confirm if the driver was wearing a seat belt. Police said the car's airbags deployed, and fire crews used the "jaws of life" to extricate the driver.
Earlier this month, two students from Waialua High & Intermediate School were killed after they were thrown from a vehicle traveling on the road.
During the early morning hours of May 13, Shane Bachiller and Lanikila Vierra, both 18, were returning from a party with two other passengers when the driver of a 1991 Geo Storm lost control, veered off the roadway and overturned.
Bachiller was pronounced dead at the scene. Vierra was taken to Queen's in critical condition, where he later died. Police are still investigating what led the driver to lose control.
Meanwhile, some Waialua residents are trying to stay off Kaukonahua Road because of the number of crashes that have happened there over the years.
"All the people down here, they don't want to travel down that road because it's treacherous," said Dan Gora, a member of the North Shore Neighborhood Board.
"Kaukonahua Road is one of the most, if not the most, dangerous road on the whole island," said Jacob Ng, another member of the neighborhood board.
The long road meanders over hills with speed limit signs that most people ignore, Ng said. At most turns the speed limit is 25 mph, said Sgt. Henry Holcombe, of the Wahiawa Police Station. The posted speed limit then changes to 35 mph on the straightway, Holcombe said.
"The basic problem is speeding," Ng said. He said he has made recommendations at previous neighborhood board meetings for more police enforcement to deter speeding. He also suggested that drivers need to be educated about the dangerous road, he said.
"People are impatient. They would overtake me on the hills on the roadside," said Ng, who regularly travels on the roadway. "The worst culprits are motorcyclists."
Three years ago the city installed road bumps primarily at the S-turns and 13 additional no-passing and curve-warning signs in an effort to reduce the number of crashes. More speed limit signs were also posted.
Still, people exceed the speed limit, Ng said. "People just ignore them, basically."