2 passengers injured in crash


POSTED: Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Honolulu police urged motorists to drive safely and responsibly after a crash on the Moanalua Freeway apparently caused by racing yesterday.

;[Preview]    Drunken Driver Puts Passengers in the Hospital

A woman is in critical condition and another passenger in serious condition after a driver who had been drinking and speeding lost control of his vehicle on Moanalua Freeway.

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;  “;Racing is dangerous and against the law,”; said Maj. Clayton Kau, police spokesman, at a news briefing yesterday.

Two people—a 20-year-old woman and a 17-year-old boy—were taken to the Queen's Medical Center in critical condition and serious condition, respectively, after the car in which they were riding crashed on the Moanalua Freeway near the Ala Kapuna overpass.

Police said a 1994 white Honda was speeding east on the freeway about 2:40 a.m. when it lost control near the overpass. The car struck an embankment and a tree before it overturned.

Witnesses told police the Honda was racing with another vehicle that took the Ala Kapuna offramp before the crash occurred, Kau said. It is not known how fast the Honda driver, a 20-year-old man, was traveling. A description of the other vehicle was not available.

The woman, who suffered head and other injuries, was in the front passenger seat. Police said the 17-year-old boy was in the back seat. The driver, of Mililani, suffered minor injuries. Police did not say whether the occupants were wearing seat belts.

Police arrested the driver on suspicion of operating a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant and first-degree negligent injury. He was released pending investigation. The driver's blood-alcohol level was not available yesterday.

Eastbound traffic was diverted for several hours because of the crash, but the lanes reopened just after 6:30 a.m.

Thirty-one people have died in 29 vehicular crashes on Oahu so far this year. Of the 29 crashes, 16 involved alcohol, drugs and/or speeding, according to police spokeswoman Michelle Yu.

A law that took effect in 2007 makes excessive speeding a criminal offense. First-time offenders convicted of traveling 81 mph or more face a fine of up to $1,000, a maximum five days' imprisonment and mandatory license suspension. Stiffer penalties are imposed for repeat offenders.

Police are still trying to locate the other driver involved in the alleged road race. Anyone who has information on the driver, the road race or the crash is asked to call police or CrimeStoppers at 955-8300.