CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARBULLETIN.COM
Norbert Silva Jr., 65, was fatally crushed yesterday by a truck lift used for hauling large trash bins. Silva owned the truck and was apparently fixing the vehicle on Mooiki Street in Waimanalo when the accident occurred.
Truck rails crush Kailua man to death
A 65-year-old Kailua man died in a bizarre accident in Waimanalo yesterday when the back rails of a roll-off truck crushed him.
A friend last saw the man alive at about 12:40 p.m., police said. The witness returned with lunch at 1:10 p.m. and found the victim pinned by the trailer rails. He was unconscious.
Relatives identified the victim as Norbert Silva Jr., owner and sole employee of Reliable Rolloffs.
"This is just tragic," said his oldest daughter, Lori Lauriano.
The truck trailer, about 40 feet long, was not carrying a bin. Silva raised two rails to an upright position and appeared to be doing maintenance when the rails came down and crushed him, police said.
Firefighters used the jaws of life to remove his body.
Paramedics pronounced him dead at 1:34 p.m., said Honolulu Emergency Services Department spokesman Bryan Cheplic. An unattended-death case has been opened.
Silva worked seven days a week, sunrise to sunset, for his company based on Mooiki Street, across from a horse ranch and in a neighborhood of orchid plantations and nurseries.
"He was actually a very hard worker," said Anissa Gonzalez, who met Silva about 10 years ago through a shared interest in pigeon racing. Silva was president of Lokahi, a statewide pigeon racing organization.
"He was always there to help people, no matter what," Gonzalez said at the scene. "He had a lot of friends."
Dozens of those friends and family gathered on Mooiki Street waiting for the Medical Examiner's Office to recover Silva's body. Police taped off the driveway to Silva's business.
Behind police, the truck could be seen with a yellow tarp covering Silva's body.
His daughters remembered him as a good father with a sense of humor and as a hard worker.
"That's just the way he was," Lauriano said. "He said he was brought up that way."
Silva spent more than 40 years in the hauling business. After graduating from Kaimuki High School and a short stint in the Navy, he began hauling wood shavings with his father at a business on Sheridan Street.
He used wooden boxes to haul rubbish and eventually built his own steel containers.
"He was a dedicated man all around," said his youngest daughter, Nicole Otani, 28.
Lauriano added, "He died doing what he loved."
Silva is survived by five daughters, his mother, two sisters, six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.