CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARBULLETIN.COM
A Honolulu police officer yesterday escorted an elderly man across the same 400 N. King St. crosswalk where another pedestrian, an 81-year-old woman, was hit and killed earlier in the day. The white van involved is shown at the scene. CLICK FOR LARGE
Collision kills elderly pedestrian
The woman, hit on King Street, is the fourth pedestrian to die in the past eight days
A van struck and killed an 81-year-old downtown Honolulu woman yesterday, raising Oahu's pedestrian fatality toll to four for the new year -- all within the past eight days.
Fe Bulahan, 81, and her husband were crossing North King Street in the makai direction to catch a bus to go to church when they were both struck by the van, driven by a 28-year-old man.
"We are already there, almost on the sidewalk," said Manuel Bulahan, 88. "I fell already. I don't know what happened.
"When I recovered, I was looking for my wife, and I see my wife on the ground with blood oozing from the nose," he said.
Bulahan said he and his wife had the cross signal in their favor when they began.
Police said Bulahan almost completed her cross in a marked crosswalk where North King Street and North Beretania Street merge, when the white 2006 Ford van struck her, knocking her to the ground.
The van, heading Diamond Head on North King Street, apparently had the green light, police said.
Shopkeepers and pedestrians in the area blame the short traffic light, which gives pedestrians 20 seconds to cross the busy six-lane roadway.
"The stoplight is so fast to change," said pedestrian Luciana Ramento, 82, who was inside a nearby flower shop when the accident occurred but did not see what happened. "Sometimes we run because the light changes easily."
The light is "too short for old people," said Misa Cabico, 16. "Even when we cross and we're not to the middle, it's already blinking."
Even though the driver might have had the green light, "it's still pedestrians who have the right of way," she said. "She was in the crosswalk."
Store owner Minna Liang, 36, said, "Every time I cross the street with my kids, I tell them we have to run," and fears for their safety.
Liang and others believe the city needs to adjust the traffic lights. "The elderly, especially, they walk so slow, they need to give them ample time to cross," she said.
Other times, drivers are anxious and in a rush.
"Sometimes the drivers don't see you," she said. "They see the green light and they just go."
Flower shop owner Edith Doctolero, 60, said commercial vans are "too tall" for their drivers to see pedestrians. "When we're short like me, they no can see me," she said.
Carol Pak, 56, said that particular crosswalk can also be confusing since King Street's two lanes of traffic heading Ewa can be stopped, and suddenly the four lanes of traffic heading Diamond Head start flowing.
Fe Bulahan was the fourth pedestrian killed by a vehicle on Oahu's roadways this year. Another pedestrian was struck Dec. 14 and died Jan. 2.
Manuel Bulahan said his wife was still alive and mumbled something. She suffered head injuries and broken ribs, and her heart was affected. She was taken to the Queen's Medical Center, where she died.
Other pedestrians killed this month were In Jae Kim, 81, of Honolulu, who was struck by a vehicle as she crossed Young Street on Saturday; Floyd Girven, 75, of Ewa Beach, who was struck by a car while crossing Renton Road in Ewa on Friday; and Kinue Rosenberg, 73, of Waikiki, who was hit by a taxicab while sitting at a bus stop on Kalakaua Avenue on Jan. 7.
"I miss my wife," Manuel Bulahan said last night. The two were going to church for a blessing before his eye surgery scheduled for today.
Bulahan said of the numerous pedestrian accidents this year, "The drivers are reckless. They don't observe, especially people crossing the road."