CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARBULLETIN.COM
An iron gate, knocked down by a truck driven by a child, sat beside a home yesterday at 94-1211 Huakai St. in Waipahu. The accident injured a 72-year-old woman who later died.
Woman hit by truck driven by 11-year-old, dies
A smashed wrought iron fence stood in mute testament yesterday to a bizarre accident that killed a Waipahu woman.
"Imagine!" said property owner Josefina Badua, a friend of the victim. "I locked the gate so she could be safe in here. But who knew this would ever happen?"
Greta Tanonaka, 72, injured in the crash of a reversing pickup truck driven by an 11-year-old boy, died Sunday night after her son decided against putting her on life support.
"They said her chances of surviving were slim," said Albert Tanonaka, 48. "I just thought it'd be better to let her die peacefully and not let her suffer."
Badua said Greta Tanonaka often sat outside their home on Huakai Street, waving to passers-by.
About 6 p.m. Saturday, Tanonaka was waiting inside the fence as the two women were about to leave for a party.
That's when the boy at the wheel of the pickup mistook the accelerator for the brake.
The truck lurched out of the driveway, running over the leg of the boy's father, who was standing nearby. The pickup then backed across the street and crashed into the fence and hollow wall on Badua's property, pinning Tanonaka.
"She was lying down here with the fence on top of her," said Badua, pointing to the foot of the steps leading up to the home's second floor. "I tried talking to her but she was already unresponsive."
She was taken to the hospital unconscious and with several broken bones, Badua said.
Albert Tanonaka, who had left for the University of Hawaii football game at the time of the accident, declined to talk about his neighbor's role in the accident.
"It's hard to deal with right now," he said yesterday. "It happened so fast."
He said he had moved in with his mother 10 months ago. Before that, she was under the care of a caretaker.
He described his mother as a "very caring person, very generous," adding, "Before I moved in with her, I used to visit her only on a weekly basis. I'm glad I was able to be with her this past year."
The father of the 11-year-old boy declined comment.