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Deadly crash brings calls for caution


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POSTED: Monday, December 21, 2009

Vehicles continued to speed—easily at 50-plus mph—on Halawa Heights Road yesterday past the scene of a motorcycle accident that killed 23-year-old Jonathan Pons and critically injured a 13-year-old boy.

Janet Camero, 55, heard the sound of a motorcycle speeding up the hill in the 30-mph zone near Iwaiwa Street Saturday night.

Then she heard a “;poom,”; she said.

Camero ran out with a blanket to cover the motorcyclist, who was “;just lying there,”; she said. “;He wasn't moaning. His eyes were open. I know he was awake. He probably was in shock. Seeing the face of someone dying kind of grabs you.”;

She said she hopes public attention to this latest accident in the area will prompt drivers to slow down.

;[Preview]  Residents say “;slow down”;
 

Aiea residents say last night's fatal crash could be prevented if drivers just slow down.

Watch ]

 

The broad straight-away through a residential neighborhood invites speeding, residents say, and some are calling for a traffic light, more enforcement and speed bumps.

Friends say Pons, a 2005 Farrington graduate, was a disciplined motorcycle rider who didn't speed or drink while riding his black 2007 Honda CVR sport bike.

But police said Pons was speeding mauka on Halawa Heights Road, veered left to avoid a car and broadsided a 1993 Toyota Camry station wagon crossing the intersection at Iwaiwa Street. The force caused the station wagon to crash into a hollow tile wall on the corner.

Excessive speed and alcohol were not factors on the part of the car driver, police said.

While it is unknown if alcohol was a contributing factor for Pons, he was convicted for speeding in October last year, according to state records.

Police said the 13-year-old boy who was a passenger in the car remained in critical condition last night at the Queen's Medical Center.

A 16-year-old Waipahu girl who was driving the car, and her passengers—three boy, two age 10 and one age 11, and a 36-year-old California man—were in good condition, police said. The girl has a provisional permit, was traveling within the allowed hours and had a licensed driver with her, police said.

Members of Pons' motorcycle club, NoXcuse Jus Ride, converged en masse on the scene yesterday, hugging one another and praying.

Joel Castillo described Pons, a mechanic who worked for a private contractor at Schofield Barracks, as “;always happy”; and “;never down.”;

Pons was on his way home to pick up his car and attend Castillo's girlfriend's birthday party at 7 p.m., he said.

At the scene yesterday, Castillo picked up pieces of his friend's motorcycle, placed them in a box and brought them to Pons' family's home about a half mile from the crash scene.

“;We're really grieved about the loss,”; said Jeri El-Swaify, club chaplain. “;This is what we love to do. It doesn't discourage us, but it's always sad.”;

Camero, who said she has lived on the corner of Halawa Heights and Iwaiwa since she was a child, recalled numerous accidents, including one in the 1960s when a car hit five trick-or-treaters.

“;That person left the scene and the bodies were scattered on the road,”; crippling a girl and killing two others, she said.

Once a car drove into her parents' bedroom, she said.

Mothers in the neighborhood said they don't let their children cross the street.

“;When you cross the street, you have to dash,”; said Kuu Higa. “;It's really scary.”;

This was the 53rd Oahu traffic fatality this year compared to 44 last year.