Officer needs blood after surgery
An accident during the president's visit injured the veteran motorcycle patrolman
Police Chief Boisse Correa made an emotional plea yesterday for blood donors to aid a 30-year-old motorcycle officer who is fighting for his life after he and two other officers crashed while escorting President Bush's motorcade at Hickam Air Force Base.
"We're very concerned. We just got word from the hospital that they're asking for blood for our officer. And it's serious," Correa said, choking up with emotion at a news conference with Mayor Mufi Hannemann.
Officer Steve Favella, an eight-year veteran of the Honolulu Police Department, remains in critical condition at the Queen's Medical Center.
"Hear now the call for blood," Mayor Mufi Hannemann said. "If you can, please do so, but most importantly I think the best thing we can do, especially this Thanksgiving season, is to pray for recovery here of one of our finest in the Police Department."
Concern for Favella came from family, friends, fellow officers and all the way from the White House.
Correa said Bush called him from Air Force One after it took off Tuesday morning en route to Washington, D.C. Bush made a 16-hour stopover in Honolulu, and the crash occurred as the motorcade drove the president to a breakfast with 300 troops.
"He was very, very aware of the situation and said that the officer and the family were in his prayers along with his wife's and that he wished the best for the department and the officer, so he's aware of the situation. He's very concerned, and he wants to know the status reports," Correa said in detailing his conversation with the president.
"He didn't say anything about whether he saw it or what his observation (was) at the time, but his nurse jumped out of the limousines and rendered aid immediately for our officer."
Correa said Secret Service agents were also sent to the hospital.
Friends said Favella sustained a broken pelvis, a severed artery in his right leg and multiple internal injuries.
Favella underwent surgery Tuesday night to repair the artery. He received 200 units of blood during the surgery and was stabilized. But yesterday morning, he was still bleeding.
"I hope he pulls through. We're praying for him," said neighbor Derrick Lehua, of Ewa Beach, who has known Favella for 10 years.
Favella and his wife, Barbara, have four children. Their youngest is 2 months old, and their oldest is 7 years old.
"He's a very good man. Eight years in the department, four children, excellent wife, supportive, great family, and we're very sorry that this happened," Correa said.
When Lehua and his wife, Doris, first heard of the crash, his wife's first thought was of Favella, hoping he was not one of three injured. Later that night, the couple heard on television broadcast news that Favella was one of the three solo bike officers. The other two officers suffered injuries and were treated and released from Queen's.
Lehua's wife and Barbara Favella both work as nurses at the hospital.
The accident occurred just before 7:15 a.m. Tuesday in a slight bend on a slick, rain-soaked roadway on O'Malley Boulevard. Favella and the other two solo bike officers were leading the motorcade.
"It was a long motorcade, a very long motorcade. It's unusual, but when the president comes in it's a long motorcade, but they weren't going at a high speed. They were going at a reasonable speed, and we control the speed," Correa said. "Traffic was stopped at the gate, the solo bikes were stopped at the gate and ... they had to get around the motorcade again."
Correa said that Favella was not the first officer to go down.
"It looks like the first officer lost control, and the two behind of him (including Favella) were trying to avoid the collision and they both lost control," Correa said.
Correa said the other two officers "landed on the grass, and (Favella) hit a fixed object. And that's why he's in this condition." That fixed object was a pole, he said.
Favella was first listed in serious condition, but his conditioned worsened and he was downgraded to critical condition.
Correa said that the investigation into the accident is continuing, and the department is looking into whether any changes need to be made.
"This situation seems to be a situation where we practiced, we practiced and practiced before this happened. We didn't practice in the rain, and that was the big difference. And so it looks like because of the rain and the (slickness) of the road, this situation happened," Correa said.
"Everything worked, our training worked -- it's just one of those situations," the chief said. "We did everything reasonable. This is one of those things where it was a freak accident."
Hannemann also said a thorough review of the procedures is warranted, including a more careful assessment of requests made by outside agencies.