Motorcycle officers crash during escort
Three policemen are hurt when they fall off their bikes at Hickam
A 30-year-old solo bike officer was in critical condition with internal injuries at the Queen's Medical Center after he and two other officers crashed their motorcycles while escorting President Bush's motorcade at Hickam Air Force Base yesterday.
"The president was very concerned," said Honolulu Police Department spokesman Capt. Frank Fujii at a news conference yesterday at police headquarters. "He had asked to meet with the Specialized Services Division's major prior to boarding the plane to get an update on the officer."
About 7:10 a.m., three solo bike officers were leading a motorcade on O'Malley Boulevard, about one-tenth of a mile east of Apollo Avenue.
The first officer was believed to have traveled through a slick spot on the roadway when he lost control of his motorcycle at a slight bend in the roadway, Fujii said. He struck a curb and fell.
Two other bike officers, who attempted to avoid striking the first officer, also lost control of their motorcycles and fell.
The 30-year-old officer's condition was first listed as serious but later downgraded to critical, and he was suffering from internal injuries and internal bleeding, according to Fujii. He has been an HPD officer for eight years.
One officer, who has been with HPD for six years, was listed in stable condition. The third officer, also a six-year veteran, was listed in serious condition, Fujii said. Both were treated and released.
Fujii said a pole and tree were hit but it is not known whether it was the solo bike officers or their motorcycles that struck the fixed objects. Members of the White House medical team -- including an ambulance -- were cut loose from the motorcade to help, said Dr. Richard Tubb, Bush's doctor.
Fujii said the department is not releasing the officers' names because they are victims.
Officers go through an intense training program and practice before dignitaries arrive, he said.
"The emphasis here is that they are trained to do the job in the safest way possible," he said.
Fujii said fellow police officers are saddened and worried.
Road conditions were described as wet at the time of the motorcade and might have been a contributing factor, said Fujii, who added that police are investigating the accident.
"The roadway that they were traveling was not the typical asphalt they travel on out there on the public roads."
Police could not say how fast the officers were traveling but a witness said they were traveling at more than 40 mph.
Police Chief Boisse Correa was on his way to have breakfast with Bush when he heard about the downed officers. Correa immediately turned around and headed to Queen's.
Another solo bike officer suffered a minor injury Monday night at Pearl Harbor while in a motorcade for the president.
About 7:30 p.m. Monday, the officer was traveling on North Road near Makalapa Gate at low speed when he attempted to make a U-turn on loose gravel, Fujii said.
The officer lost control on the gravel and fell, injuring his wrist.
Yesterday's accident was not the first involving a presidential motorcade this year. According to news reports, a motorcycle officer in Albuquerque, N.M., was injured in an accident in February while escorting the president on Interstate 25.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.