DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARBULLETIN.COM
A man was run over by a garbage truck and killed on Kapiolani Boulevard just before the H-1 east onramp, near Kaimuki High School. Police investigated as the body of Kenneth Zablan, 76, lay under yellow plastic by the truck.
Pedestrian dies after being run over twice
The 76-year-old was crossing Kapiolani when a garbage truck reversed into him
For more than 20 years, Kenneth Zablan caught the bus every morning to Ala Moana Center, where he would drink coffee and talk story with friends.
But yesterday, Zablan, 76, never made it to the bus stop across the street from his apartment building at 2765 Kapiolani Blvd. At about 8:45 a.m., a reversing Honolulu Disposal Service garbage truck knocked him down and ran him over twice, Honolulu police said.
"Apparently he was looking towards the west for traffic, and the rubbish truck, which was just a few feet away from him, backed up into him and rolled over him," said Sgt. John Agno, of the HPD Vehicular Homicide Detail. "A witness was yelling at the driver across the street, (and) the driver didn't know what happened, so he pulled forward and rolled over him again."
Agno said the truck had been reversing "very slowly," and at this time he does not know why the driver did not see Zablan behind him. Agno said the truck even has a camera mounted in the back that is connected to an LCD monitor in the cab, which should have given the driver a clear view of the rear.
"We tested it out. ... It works," Agno said.
Agno noted that Zablan was not in a crosswalk and that the nearest one was on the mauka side of the street near Kaimuki Avenue.
Thanh Nguyen said his mother, who knew Zablan, told police that Zablan did not look behind him and was even seen waving to her as he crossed the street.
"They know each other. They take the bus together," Nguyen said. "She said the guy tried to cross the street, and the truck driver doesn't see him, so he reversed the truck and ran over the guy."
Charles Ornellas said his aunt had shared the Kapiolani apartment with Zablan for the last 22 years, and until a couple of years ago, they would catch the bus together to go to the shopping center. Because of his aunt's declining health, Ornellas said, Zablan would head off to Ala Moana himself and sometimes not use the crosswalk.
"I used to hear stories about it, and I would scold him," Ornellas said.
Officials for Honolulu Disposal Service Inc. had no comment but said they were looking into the matter. Police said the driver has a valid commercial driver's license.
Zablan's loved ones said it is mind-boggling that he died from something he did every day.
"It was nothing out of the routine," Ornellas said. "He was such a good man, like an angel from above.
"He loved my auntie dearly, and now she misses him so much."