Matsumoto was drunk during fatal car accident
» Sad irony present in final work of isle playwright before death
Renowned local playwright and performer Lisa Matsumoto was drunk when she crashed while driving the wrong way on the H-1 freeway early Friday morning, an autopsy revealed.
Matsumoto, 43, died Friday of blunt force injuries to the neck due to a motor vehicle collision, the city Medical Examiner's Office said. "Acute alcohol intoxication" was a significant condition that contributed to the death, the office said.
The accident occurred at about 3:32 a.m. Friday when Matsumoto was headed east in a westbound lane of the H-1 freeway near the Houghtailing Street offramp. The car she was driving crashed head-on into a car driven by a 36-year-old woman.
She was taken in critical condition to the Queen's Medical Center, where she later died. The other woman was in serious condition with head and lower leg injuries.
Police said it appeared Matsumoto had been driving the wrong way on the freeway for a while. Two callers to 911 reported a vehicle going in the wrong direction, police said. An investigation is ongoing.
Sad irony present in final work of isle playwright before death
The day before she died, Lisa Matsumoto put the finishing touches on a revamped version of "On Dragonfly Wings," a musical she wrote representing the life of 3-year-old Alana Dung, stricken by leukemia.
Alana's "life was cut way too short, but she was able to affect so many lives so deeply," said Roslyn Catracchia, a friend and songwriter who wrote the musical score. "Now Lisa Matsumoto, at the age of 43 -- her life was cut way too short, way too soon.
"In the short time she has been alive, she has touched more people with such incredible joy, and she has accomplished more in her short 43 years than most people will ever do in a lifetime," Catracchia said.
The revised version of the 2001 musical will be performed in April at Georgia Southern University.
Matsumoto died after she crashed on H-1 freeway Friday morning. She was drunk and driving the wrong way when she crashed head-on into another car.
Matsumoto's family issued a brief statement read by Catracchia last night at a news conference, saying the family is devastated by the tragedy and expressed concern for the injured driver of the other car, who was hospitalized in serious condition.
Matsumoto is survived by her parents and two sisters.
The family statement said she will be remembered not just for her contributions, but most for her "giving and caring heart."
Catracchia said she got a call at 5:30 a.m. Friday from a police officer friend informing her of the accident. "The roads were slippery, and he felt that she could have spun and started heading in the wrong direction, which makes more sense than entering an exit," Catracchia said, adding Matsumoto lived on the west side of Oahu and was in a westbound lane.
Police said their investigation is ongoing.
Catracchia said she was able to see her friend of 20 years at the hospital before she died. "It was difficult, but I was thankful to be able to see her," she said.