Monday, February 4, 2002

Oahu traffic deaths
on the rise

The latest victim was killed while
standing behind his parked car

By Treena Shapiro

There have been three times as many traffic-related deaths on Oahu this year compared with the same period last year, prompting police to urge the public to obey traffic laws to reduce injuries and deaths.

The 12th traffic fatality of 2002 occurred Saturday evening when a 22-year-old man was struck by a sport utility vehicle on H-1 while he was standing on the median behind his parked car, police said. At this time last year, there were four traffic fatalities.

The collision occurred on H-1 eastbound, just west of the Kaonohi Street overpass.

According to police, the victim had stopped his car on the right-side shoulder, turned on his flashing emergency lights and stepped out to look in his trunk when a 31-year-old male driving a 1995 Isuzu Rodeo suddenly veered right from the center lane into the shoulder, crushing the victim between the two cars.

The victim was taken in critical condition to Queen's Medical Center, where he later died.

Two boys in the victim's 1999 Nissan Sentra, 15 and 17, were also transported to Queen's, and were reported in good condition.

The Rodeo's driver, who had a 3-year-old passenger, was treated and released from Kapiolani Medical Center at Pali Momi.

Police said alcohol was a factor in this collision, and speed may also have been a factor.

This is the second fatality in which alcohol has been a factor, and police are still investigating others. It was also the sixth pedestrian fatality of the year and the fourth pedestrian death in as many days.

On Tuesday a 70-year-old man was critically injured in a crosswalk on Auahi Street, and a 32-year-old man either fell or dove under a car driving on Kuhio Avenue. Both died of their injuries Wednesday. A woman was killed Saturday on H-1 while she was walking on the freeway near the airport viaduct.

Four of the fatalities last month were with automobiles, and two were with motorcycles. Only one of the people who died in an automobile collision had been wearing a seat belt, and only one motorcyclist wore a helmet, police said.

There were 79 traffic-related deaths on Oahu last year. Police said speed was a factor in more than half the collisions, and alcohol or drugs in more than 43 percent.

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