Family rallies for
Kalanianaole road safety

Relatives of a man killed last week
want more safety measures

By Leila Fujimori

Family and friends of 62-year-old Ramus Seabury, killed last Sunday in Waimanalo by a possible drunken driver, planned to hold a vigil at 8 this morning at the site where he died, with signs urging motorists to keep the highways safe.

On Friday, the family learned that the state Department of Transportation will install a safety median to divide oncoming traffic on Kalanianaole Highway.

"Why did they have to do it one week after; why not a week before?" asked Harriet Seabury, who mourns the recent loss of her husband. "We're thankful for the barriers for now.

"My husband didn't have to die," she said. "They could have done it after the Wiley girl," referring to the death of Lorrie-Ann Wiley, killed January 2001 by a drunken driver in the same area.

Family and friends collected more than 800 signatures Friday and yesterday at the Waimanalo Carnival on a petition urging the state to install safety barriers.

At least five people who signed the petition were victims of accidents on that stretch of road who survived, said Ebenette Sausi, who collected signatures. "They were most anxious to sign."

"We're still going to push until the barriers are up," Harriet Seabury said, adding they would continue to collect signatures. "I don't want any more people killed on that road."

The family still has concerns about what kind of median will be put up and where it will begin and end. Construction of the median is scheduled to begin in three weeks.

"I think it'll be a lot safer," said patrol officer Larry Santos, who has handled numerous accidents there. "It's too bad that people have to die before they start doing this. If they don't drink and drive, a lot of accidents won't happen."

Waimanalo resident Manny Fernandez said barriers may not help. "People might hit the barrier and go right over," he said.

Some residents called for weekend police roadblocks. Others wanted the median barriers to continue up to the area where houses begin to front the highway.

"After two deaths, something's being done," said state Sen. Fred Hemmings (R, Kailua-Waimanalo-Hawaii Kai).

But he added: "The curve in the road did not cause the death. The drinking and driving did. We need to support the drinking and driving laws."

Ramus Seabury was driving to work in a pickup truck at 4:31 a.m. last Sunday when another pickup driven by a 19-year-old man crossed the center line where Kalanianaole Highway narrows to two lanes from four lanes in front of Olomana Golf Links.

Police have opened a negligent homicide investigation, saying excessive speed and alcohol are possible factors.

Kekai Seabury, 32, Ramus' son, who came upon the scene minutes after the accident, has been motivated to start a coalition called "Dads Against Drunk Driving."

"I want to put out there that you have a choice to drink and get behind that wheel -- that's the choice I want to stop -- or to have a designated driver," he said. He hopes to take the message to schools.

Services for Seabury will be held at Hawaiian Memorial Park Thursday from 5 to 9 p.m. and Friday from 9 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Burial is at 1 p.m.

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