Fatal crash shocks motocrossers
A 52-year-old motorcyclist who died Sunday was not wearing a chest protector when he fell and struck his chest on a boulder at the Kahuku Motocross Track, according to a park marshal.
Leslie C. Souza of Kapahulu fell off his motorcycle onto the boulder in an area near the motocross track that riders call the "playground."
The playground, made up of small hills, trees and rocks, is used by beginners and advanced riders.
At about 4 p.m. Sunday, the park marshal, George, who declined to give his last name, said Souza veered to avoid striking his teenage son, who had fallen off his motorcycle. The park marshal said Souza was mobile and conscious and told paramedics that he had difficulty breathing.
Souza was taken in critical condition to Kahuku Hospital, where he died. An autopsy is expected to be performed today to determine the exact cause of death.
Family members declined to comment.
Volunteers from the Hawaii Motorsports Association, a nonprofit organization that comprises more than 1,000 members, operate the 440-acre park. The land is leased to the organization by the state.
Members and nonmembers are required to sign a waiver and pay a fee before they ride at the park. Many signs are posted around the park reminding riders to wear protective gear.
Riders who frequent the track said it is a safe place to practice the sport and described the incident as a freak accident. Many families bring their children along to ride at the track. Riders range in age from 5 to 70.
Larry Secrist, 49, who has been frequenting Kahuku Motocross Track for 25 years, said he was shocked to hear about the accident. "What happened to the guy (Sunday) is mind-boggling," he said.
While injuries at the track occur, deaths are rare, added Secrist, who parked his vehicle near the playground site to ride with his 16-year-old son, Anthony.
He said motocross, like any sport, is dangerous and that riders should wear protective gear.
"A chest protector could have potentially saved the man's life," Secrist said.
Carl Dees, a parts director at South Seas Honda Yamaha BMW on Nimitz Highway who rides at the motocross track once a week, said he recommends that riders wear protective gear. Chest protectors cost from $40 for children to $130 for adults.
Dees, 55, said that even if a rider wears protective gear, "there's also a chance of something happening."