Deadly driver's brother condemns 'reckless' act


POSTED: Friday, February 27, 2009

James Krzywonski, the driver of a car that smashed into the Wilson Tunnel entrance yesterday, killing three, loved physical activities and would often “;push the limits,”; his brother Mike Krzywonski said.

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“;He had a taste for adventure,”; said Krzywonski. “;He was always extreme in whatever he pursued.

“;Whatever outdoor activity it was, he would always push the limits a little bit,”; he said.

James Krzywonski, another man and a woman died early yesterday in the high-speed single-car crash on Likelike Highway.

Krzywonski, 30, and Keone Cardenas, 25, have been identified as two of the victims. A 22-year-old woman also died in the crash.

Krzywonski had a traffic history that included six speeding violations from May 2001 to March 2007, according to court records. The fines for those citations totaled hundreds of dollars.

Krzywonski and Cardenas worked together at Haleiwa Joe's in Kaneohe for years, said restaurant senior managing partner Tim York. “;Two fantastic, responsible, great guys, full of life,”; York said.

York said the pair were returning from a birthday party in town when the accident occurred. The party was attended by several members of his staff. One of the restaurant's hostesses was following Krzywonski's vehicle and called police and York.

“;She had no idea it was even them,”; York said. “;The car was so smashed.”;

Police said Krzywonski's 2001 Audi Coupe was traveling toward Kaneohe at about 3:50 a.m. at a speed they estimated to be more than 100 mph.

Police said the driver lost control of the vehicle just before the entrance to the Wilson Tunnel, struck the right concrete embankment and went airborne.

While in the air the vehicle crashed into the moss rock and concrete wall on the right side of the entrance to the tunnel, smashing a flashing traffic light before coming to rest in the left lane of the two Kaneohe-bound lanes.

For the first few hours after the crash, police investigators could not confirm whether there were more than three people in the vehicle, which was barely recognizable as a crumpled rubble of metal and plastic.

“;The car has been damaged to the point where we can't see inside of it,”; said police Maj. Frank Fujii.

Pieces of the vehicle's tail light were lodged into the wall of the tunnel entrance. Shredded pieces of the victims' clothing were scattered across the highway.

Krzywonski was the driver, Cardenas was sitting in the front passenger seat and a 22-year-old woman was sitting in the back seat, police said. They were all pronounced dead at the scene.

Police closed the Kaneohe-bound lanes of the Likelike at Valley View Drive as they investigated the crash. The vehicle was towed from the scene shortly before 9 a.m., but crews were still clearing debris from the vehicle that flew several yards into the tunnel.

The crash marks the 14th, 15th and 16th traffic fatalities of the year, compared with nine at this time last year.

It was the second traffic accident this week involving speeds of 100 mph or more. Willie Davis, 35, died after he lost control of his motorcycle Sunday while traveling 100 mph on the H-1 freeway in Kaimuki, police said.

Fujii said the Honolulu Police Department is issuing a stern warning to drivers who speed.

;[Preview]    Likelike Triple Fatal

The car was going more than 100 miles per hour.

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“;If you're not going to listen to my words, just take a look at the pictures then,”; he said. “;It says it all.”;

Police are still investigating whether alcohol was involved in the Likelike crash. York said that when he spoke with his staff members who had gone to the party, they were sober, and that it would “;very much surprise”; him to hear that Krzywonski had been drinking.

Krzywonski had worked at the restaurant as server and manager for the past nine years, while Cardenas worked there for almost two years.

Krzywonski was a hard worker who loved water sports, skating and boating and was a close friend of York's. Cardenas often played tennis with Krzywonski and played guitar in a reggae band.

Mike Krzywonski, 37, called the accident avoidable and reckless.

“;It was just an act of reckless behavior, being that it was a single-car accident and speed was the main factor. That is just an unfortunate act of irresponsible behavior on his part,”; he said.

James Krzywonski grew up in the small town of Laguna Vista, Texas, and moved to Hawaii in about 2001, following his older brother and sister.

On his MySpace account, Krzywonski posted photos of himself surfing, skateboarding, swimming with sharks, flying, traveling to Indonesia and Japan, and dirt biking. In September 2007 he wrote about falling off a dirt bike and breaking a rib.

“;They made me sit up to take an exray (sic), but I passed out from the pain and had a seizure,”; he wrote. “;My sister was in the room and she said my eyes rolled back and I started moaning. When I woke up I thought I died and came back to life.”;

Krzywonski's parents, Mike and Carol of Laguna Vista, Texas, will be coming to Hawaii.

He is also survived by his sister, Susan Valle of Waialua.


Star-Bulletin reporter Ken Kobayashi contributed to this report.