DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Police and military investigated the scene at Hickam Air Force Base on Tuesday, when three officers were injured after they lost control of their motorcycles while escorting the presidential motorcade.
Motorcycle officer dies of injuries
Steve Favela was badly hurt in a crash while escorting Bush's motorcade
Honolulu motorcycle police officer Steve Favela died yesterday, five days after he was critically injured while escorting President Bush's motorcade.
He died at 9:55 a.m. with relatives at his bedside at the Queen's Medical Center, according to the Department of the Medical Examiner.
Favela was 30 years old and had been with the department for eight years. He and his wife had four young children.
Favela suffered multiple injuries Tuesday morning when his motorcycle crashed while he was riding with the president's motorcade at Hickam Air Force Base. Two other officers involved in the accident were treated and released.
"He was a really good guy," said Domingo Manog, one of the officers involved, who was overwhelmed with grief yesterday.
The crash, during Bush's 16-hour stopover in Honolulu, happened as the president headed to a breakfast with 300 island-based troops.
President issues statement on Officer Favela
"Laura and I are deeply saddened by the death of Officer Steve Favela of the Honolulu Police Department. Officer Favela died from injuries he suffered while protecting us during our visit to Hawaii. We send our condolences to his wife, Barbara, his entire family, and his fellow law enforcement officers. We pray that God will comfort them and that their friends and loved ones will sustain them in this difficult time.
Officer Favela risked his life every day to protect the people of his community. In this time of great sadness, we give thanks for his life of service."
Killed in the line of duty
A list of the last five Honolulu Police Department officers killed on duty since 1995:
» July 21, 1995: Officer Bryant B. Bayne, 31, and Tate D. Kahakai, 34, were both killed in a helicopter crash while searching for a missing hiker near Sacred Falls.
» April 30, 2000: Officer Dannygriggs M. Padayao, 46, died after being hit by a car during a routine call to direct traffic around an accident near Kualoa Ranch.
» March 4, 2003: Officer Glen A. Gaspar, 40, was killed during the arrest of fugitive Shane Mark at the Kapolei Shopping Center. He was shot multiple times at close range.
» July 23, 2003: Officer Ryan K. Goto, 35, a solo bike officer, died when his motorcycle hit a car on Farrington Highway near Honokai Hale.
» Aug. 16, 2004: Officer Issac Veal, 58, died after his 2001 Dodge Durango crashed on the H-2 freeway while he was responding to a police call about a fight at 9:20 p.m.
Source: HPD and Star-Bulletin archives
In a statement issued by the White House, Bush and first lady Laura Bush said they were "deeply saddened" by Favela's death.
"Officer Favela died from injuries he suffered while protecting us during our visit to Hawaii," the statement read. "We send our condolences to his wife, Barbara, his entire family, and his fellow law enforcement officers. We pray that God will comfort them and that their friends and loved ones will sustain them in this difficult time."
Honolulu Police Department Capt. Frank Fujii, who did not know Favela personally, said he met many of the officer's relatives and friends during hospital visits. The U.S. Secret Service also had someone at Queen's every day, Fujii said.
"When I received the phone call that Steve had passed away, quite frankly, my heart just sank," Fujii said, holding back tears at a news conference at HPD headquarters. "I know that Steve was first and foremost a very loving husband, a dedicated, great father, loving son and a great sibling. He is going to be missed by everyone."
An investigation into Tuesday's accident is ongoing. In the five days he was hospitalized, Favela, who joined the motorcycle force two years ago, remained in critical condition with a broken pelvis, a severed artery in his right leg and multiple internal injuries. But there was some renewed hope on Friday when his condition improved slightly following the amputation of one of his legs.
That day, Favela's wife, Barbara, held a news conference outside the hospital, making an emotional plea for people to donate blood and continue praying for her husband. The couple have a 5-year-old daughter and three sons, ages 7, 2 and 3 months.
Their ordeal made national news and brought scores of residents to blood banks during the Thanksgiving Day weekend. The Blood Bank of Hawaii collected 234 and 230 pints of blood respectively on Friday and Saturday, twice surpassing its daily goal of 200 pints at a time when donations dip significantly.
Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann, who had visited the Favelas for about a half-hour Thursday afternoon, said the officer seemed to be doing better after the amputation.
"Obviously, we all thought then that the picture was going to take a turn for the better. They were very optimistic and so was I," Hannemann said yesterday, thanking all who donated blood. "Everybody was pulling for him, but all we can do now is pray for the support of Barbara and four very young children."
Fujii said that even on Friday, Favela's "situation was still such that it could go either way."
An autopsy was to be performed today to determine the exact cause of death.
Favela, who is survived by two brothers and a sister, will be remembered in his Ewa Beach neighborhood as a helpful man who loved his family, said his next-door neighbor, Glenn Alcalde, a carpenter who helped build Favela's home some four years ago and worked with his father for many years at the Gentry Co.
"Any woman would envy this guy for a husband. Any child would like this man for its father," the 36-year-old Alcalde said. "I'm just at a loss for words. He will be missed greatly by our community."
To mourn Favela's death, police officers will wear a black band across their badges.
"There's no words to describe the pain right now," Detective Alex Garcia, Oahu Chapter chairman of the State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers, said as his voice wavered with sadness. "Our hearts go out to Steve's family, and he will be truly missed."
Since 1923, 12 solo bike officers, including Favela, have died while on duty, police said. Five of those deaths happened within the last two decades, according to police. Before Favela, the last solo bike officer killed on duty was Ryan Goto on July 23, 2003, when he and two other solo bike officers crashed into a car that had crossed the grassy median of Farrington Highway near Honokai Hale. A 10-year-old girl in the car was also killed.
The last time the HPD lost an on-duty officer was Aug. 16, 2004, when Issac Veal, 58, was killed after his 2001 Dodge Durango crashed on the H-2 freeway. He was responding to a police call about a fight.
Favela's name will be engraved on a Roll of Honor outside HPD's headquarters, joining 39 other officers who have died on duty since 1903.
Services are pending.