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Driver's blood alcohol level was 4 times the legal limit


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POSTED: Friday, May 22, 2009

The truck driver who died when his tractor-trailer overturned Sunday had a blood alcohol level nearly four times the legal limit, the Honolulu Medical Examiner's office said.

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Russell Fox, 51, had a blood alcohol content of 0.313 percent. The legal limit is 0.08, but commercial drivers are banned from having any alcohol in their system.

John Kaeo, Fox's nephew, said Fox never drank before work, and he believes the crash was caused by the truck malfunction.

Witnesses told police Fox's truck was swerving before it ran off the Waianae-bound lanes of the H-1 freeway, onto an Ewa offramp, and rolled over at about 11:55 a.m.

Fox died at the scene. Fox's nephew, 12-year-old Noe Edward Rodriguez, who was also riding in the truck, was freed by firefighters.

The boy said Wednesday that the truck's steering wheel locked and the brakes failed before the crash. He said his uncle saved his life by taking off his seat belt and shielding him before impact.

Kaeo, 47, said he saw Fox's body in the truck and that it was wrapped around the passenger seat.

“;It was exactly as the boy said,”; he said. “;He couldn't stop the truck.”;

He said Rodriguez was in the truck because he wanted to go riding. Kaeo said Fox had been drinking the night before to ease pain in his hands from a medical affliction but would not drink before driving “;especially if the boy was with him. I know he wouldn't do that.”;

“;He had a lot of heart,”; he said.

Court records show Fox had a 1993 conviction for drunken driving.