RICHARD WALKER / RWALKER@STARBULLETIN.COM
Erica Miles, mother of Koa Paka Miles, the toddler killed recently in a car crash on Farrington Highway, wept yesterday as she and her husband, Samuel, spoke during a news conference in Waianae.
Crash victims recall night of horror, death
STORY SUMMARY »
| READ THE FULL STORY
The father of a toddler who died after a horrific collision caused by a drunken driver recalled yesterday how he held the boy as he drew his final breaths, telling him he loved him.
Samuel "Kamu" Miles, father of the 3-year-old boy who was killed Thursday, said he had found peace amid the family catastrophe.
"Christ brought a lot of peace to my heart," he said yesterday in Waianae, soon after being released from the Queen's Medical Center. Miles and his wife, Erica, held a news conference in the yard at the Puu Kahea Baptist Conference Center in Waianae.
"I look at my arm, all this ... pain is nothing ... compared to the pain I feel inside," said Miles, who was driving a white Jetta that was hit along the driver's side by an oncoming pickup truck. The driver of the truck, Sanford Valdez, 25, also died in the crash. The office of the medical examiner said today that Valdez has a blood alcohol level of .169 percent, more than twice the legal limit of .08.
Miles said his son was strapped into a belted child safety seat when the collision ripped off the driver's side doors and threw the car seat onto the pavement.
RICHARD WALKER / RWALKER@STARBULLETIN.COM
The parents of a toddler who died after a car crash Thursday on Farrington Highway, Erica, left, and Samuel "Kamu" Miles, joined passenger Jhonnett Steverson yesterday in Waianae to talk to the media about the accident.
FULL STORY »
Samuel "Kamu" Miles, father of the 3-year-old boy who was killed by a drunken driver on Thursday, says he has let go of the anger and found peace.
"Christ brought a lot of peace to my heart," he said yesterday. But he said he was still trying to heal from the pain.
"I look at my arm, all this ... pain is nothing ... compared to the pain I feel inside," he said, wearing a white bandage on his elbow, with scratches on his left temple.
On Thursday night, Waianae resident Sanford Valdez, 25, was speeding down Farrington Highway when he lost control of his pickup, hit a guard rail and then careened into Miles' white Jetta before flipping onto a parked car, police said. Valdez was thrown from the truck and died at the scene. Dr. William Goodhue, first deputy medical examiner, said this morning that Valdez' blood alcohol content was .169 percent, more than twice the legal limit of .08 percent.
A woman riding in Valdez' truck suffered minor injuries.
After checking out of the Queen's Medical Center yesterday, Miles, 27, and his wife, Erica, 22, met with reporters in their yard at the Puu Kahea Baptist Conference Center in Waianae.
On the night of the accident, they recalled, they were returning home from school and had just picked up the children at a family member's house.
Jhonnett Steverson, 37, the front-seat passenger and a family friend, often rode to school at Remington College with the couple. She escaped without serious injuries.
Just before the crash, she heard a sound, looked to the left and saw the truck coming at them.
"He was airborne," she said. "He was like flying to us in speed."
She only had a moment to think that the truck was going to "land on us."
"It was a very horrible scene, very horrible," she said through tears. "He was reckless."
Miles' son was strapped into a child safety seat, held by the seat belt in the back seat. Erica sat between her son and their 1-year-old daughter.
Miles said he recalled seeing bright lights, tires screeching, and people screaming. In the confusion afterward, he heard everyone's voice except that of his son, Koa Paka, and started asking bystanders if they'd seen him. A neighbor directed him to a boy on the ground.
"I held him in my arms. I was just telling him, 'Come back to daddy, everything is going to be OK,'" said Miles, who wears Koa Paka's name tattooed on his right triceps.
After Koa Paka took his last breath, he told him, "'Daddy loves you.' That's when I felt like he went."
Erica Miles, who wore a neck brace and had scratches on her face yesterday, said she was OK, but still had pain in her back.
Kamu Miles, a sergeant in the Army Reserve and a contractor at Pearl Harbor, was coping with dual grief. Two days before the crash, his father died of illness.