Wednesday, December 12, 2001

Police suspect arson was the cause of a fire on the drunken-driving display vehicle in Mililani.

Arson inflames safety
display, HPD says

The Mililani exhibit was the
second such target this year

By Treena Shapiro

For the second time this year, Honolulu police say a traffic safety display designed to raise awareness of seat belts, speeding and drunken driving, has been targeted by arsonists.

The displays feature wrecked cars with banners urging motorists to "Drive to Arrive Alive."

Around 1:30 a.m. yesterday, a passing police officer found a display at Kamehameha Highway and Meheula Parkway in Mililani engulfed in flames. The $250 banner was stolen and the fire caused $1,200 in damages to a trailer on loan from Akana Truck, police said.

On July 15, an arsonist torched a display featuring a wrecked car and a "Drive to Arrive Alive" banner on Kaukonahua Road near Waialua, causing $6,000 in damage to a trailer loaned by the Army.

"This is sheer disrespect for some good intentions," said City Councilwoman Rene Mansho, who has been involved with the safe driving campaign. "We just can't believe that somebody would do that."

The displays are part of the police department's 16th annual "Live and Let Live" Don't Drink and Drive Traffic Safety Campaign, which was launched Saturday.

Other displays have been set up at Nanakuli Beach Park, Maili Point and Waianae Boat Harbor, where police officers, the Lion's Club and community members will wave signs tomorrow, Dec. 20 and 28.

Mansho said she spoke yesterday to Wahiawa Police Officer Eli Walters, who erected both the torched displays, to come up with a new plan.

"We have to make some metal platforms that they can't burn," she said.

Anyone with information is urged to call CrimeStoppers at 955-8300 or *Crime on a cellular phone.

E-mail to City Desk

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