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StarBulletin.com

'A very bad start'


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POSTED: Saturday, January 03, 2009

Alcohol and speeding are suspected in the three traffic deaths on New Year's Day, Honolulu police said.

               

     

 

PARTY SAFE

        Here are some tips to consider when planning a party:
       

» Ask guests to appoint a designated driver who should drink only nonalcoholic beverages.

       

» Prepare plenty of food so guests will not drink on empty stomachs. Foods high in carbohydrates will help slow alcohol absorption.

       

» If preparing an alcoholic punch, use a noncarbonated base such as fruit juice, which allows alcohol to be absorbed into the bloodstream more slowly.

       

» Offer a variety of creative nonalcoholic beverages.

       

» Do not push drinks.

       

» Choose a reliable bartender to measure drinks.

       

» Close the bar at least one hour before the party ends. Continue to serve alcohol-free beverages and food.

       

Source: Star-Bulletin files

       

       

"We reminded people to please be safe," police Maj. Frank Fujii said, "but we're off to a very bad start."

Oahu did well last year with 46 traffic fatalities, the lowest tally since 1999, which saw 44.

Police officials hope to see a continuation of that trend this year.

The most recent accident occurred shortly before 10:56 p.m. Thursday. A 2003 black Honda motorcycle, driven by 36-year-old Honolulu resident Wayne Medeiros Jr., was seen speeding in the southbound lanes of Kamehameha Highway in Waipahu, police said.

Police said an officer pulled the man over, but as he approached the motorcyclist on foot, the man fled and turned right on Waipahu Street.

The officer lost sight of the motorcyclist but soon found the man on the ground. He apparently failed to make it around a left bend on Waipahu Street near Paiwa Street.

Medeiros apparently struck a guardrail and a large rock. He was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead. He was wearing a helmet.

The first of the accidents occurred at 4 a.m. Thursday when 46-year-old Patricia Kekoolani-Tully of Honolulu died after the car she was riding in struck a rock wall, flipped over and crashed on Likelike Highway in Kalihi. The male driver was hospitalized in serious condition.

Another crash occurred in front of 95-243 Kupuna Loop at about 8 p.m., also in Waipahu.

Michael Galutira, 29, of Ewa Beach was riding a motorcycle when he failed to negotiate a turn and hit a parked truck. He was not wearing a helmet.

Last year, Oahu had one fatality on New Year's Day. In 2007 there were none.

"We're asking people to comply with the speed law, and secondly don't drink and drive," Fujii said. "The combination is a deadly mix."

There were 67 traffic fatalities in 2007. That year started with a rash of pedestrian deaths that tapered off as police stepped up enforcement. In 2006 there were 90 traffic deaths.

The deaths also mark four traffic fatalities this week. Lindsay Kane, 47, another motorcyclist, died in a crash on Farrington Highway, again in Waipahu. On Monday afternoon a pickup truck cut off Kane, which caused him to crash.

The truck fled the scene. It was found on Leonui Street, but police were still looking for the driver last night.

There also was a pedestrian accident early yesterday morning that hospitalized a man in serious condition.

A vehicle driven by a 48-year-old man struck a 50-year-old in a Waianae-bound lane of Farrington Highway.

Police said the victim was in a crosswalk walking against a red light. The driver stopped to help the victim.