Flowers, balloons and a pink teddy bear marked the site yesterday where Alacia Williams, 10, and police officer Ryan Goto, 35, died Wednesday.

Flame of child’s
life still shining
brightly at Maili

Students, parents and teachers
mourn the death of Alacia
Williams in a car crash

The first day of school was supposed to be a time to renew friendships at Maili Elementary School yesterday, but instead students and staff had to grapple with the fact that 10-year-old Alacia Williams would never be coming back.

How to help

Donations to help Alacia's family with funeral and medical expenses are being accepted at the school. Checks should be made payable to Maili Elementary School, with the notation "Alacia Williams."

Williams, who would have started fifth grade at Maili yesterday, was killed Wednesday in a car crash on Farrington Highway as she and members of her Girl Scout troop were headed on an excursion to have their pictures taken.

"You really don't know what you've got until you lose it," said fifth-grader Keala Patterson, who was about to head off on the same outing when she and her mother heard the news.

"Alacia was a very happy child, always smiling, friendly and helpful," said Nancy Patterson, Keala's mother. "The comforting news is that she died happy. She was so pretty -- she had her hair done and was wearing a pretty dress. The girls were all so excited and happy."

The tragedy struck the school community hard, said Patterson, who works in the school library. Alacia was the second Maili Elementary student to be killed on Farrington Highway in less than a month.

Seven-year-old Matthew Brzezowski and his father were struck and killed on June 27 as they were trying to cross the road. He would have started second grade yesterday.

Counselors gathered at Maili Elementary yesterday with about 30 students and faculty who were closest to Alacia to try to cope with the sudden loss of their dark-haired friend with the big smile.

A Girl Scout song set the stage for the remembrance:

"Make new friends but keep the old.
One is silver, the other is gold.
A circle is round. It has no end.
That's how long I want to be your friend."

Expressions of love and remembrance were left at yesterday's roadside memorial near Honokai Hale on Farrington Highway.

The Rev. Kaleo Patterson, Nancy's husband, helped lead the group, talking about the dangers of the highway and taking time to remember Matthew as well.

Students and staff remembered Alacia as full of laughter and beauty.

Susan Salcedo-Pittman got to know Alacia as a substitute teacher at school, and her daughter, Kelley, became good friends with her through their close-knit troop of 12 Girl Scouts.

"Kelley's heartbroken about it," Salcedo-Pittman said. "She's still in shock."

"Alacia was not only a student of mine, we were friends," she added. "She was a very bright student, very friendly, very helpful. Even when her mother was having problems physically, Alacia was there to help her and support her."

Alacia's mother, Karen, remains hospitalized after the accident. Her father was overseas at the time of the accident, according to Nancy Patterson, who added that Alacia was so proud to introduce him when she brought him to the school book fair.

"She was just glowing when she said, 'This is my daddy,'" Patterson said.

Kaleo Patterson used a candle to symbolize Alacia at the school gathering yesterday morning.

"We lit a candle to remind us of the light that each of us has in our hearts," he said. "Alacia had a very bright light.

"Then I put my hand over the light, so you couldn't see it, but it was still shining," he said. "That's how it is with Alacia. We can't see her light but it's still shining."


HPD officer lived
lifelong dream

As a child, Ryan Keith Goto dreamed of becoming a police officer and riding motorcycles.

During his teenage years, Goto started riding a dirt bike. He later progressed to larger bikes such as the Harley-Davidson motorcycle he often rode during his spare time.

About five years ago, Goto's dream came true when he joined the solo motorcycle detail.

Goto and 10-year-old Alacia Williams were killed in a chain-reaction collision Wednesday that started when a woman driving a Dodge Stratus attempted to swerve around a cardboard box that fell onto Farrington Highway.

Goto, a 12-year veteran of the Honolulu Police Department, was one of three officers who were struck by the car after the Stratus was hit from behind by a Ford Mustang. Goto was leading the formation of solo bike officers. Two other solo bike officers who collided with the car were taken to the Queen's Medical Center in serious condition.

The driver of the car, the girl's mother, was also taken to Queen's in serious condition. Friends say she suffers from a broken rib and a bruised lung but is conscious. Two girls riding in the back seat of the car, ages 9 and 11, were taken to Kapiolani Medical Center at Pali Momi with minor injuries.

"I was completely shocked," said Goto's uncle Lionel Aono. "He was so young, energetic."

Family members said Goto planned to marry his fiancee, Dawn Metzger, in September.

Goto's father, Alan, said his son was popular among his peers while he attended Mililani High School in the 1980s. In his sophomore year he became a varsity football player.

"He was proud of that," said Alan Goto. "We never missed a game."

Goto continued to play football throughout his high school years until he graduated in 1986.

"He just enjoyed life," said his father. "He was very generous and had a very big heart."

Later, Goto was able to integrate his love for law enforcement and bikes when he became a solo bike officer five years ago.

"That was his dream job," said Alan Goto.

Goto's mother, Patsy, who died five years ago, often worried about the dangers he faced as a police officer.

"She just wanted him to be very careful and to be an honest officer. That was very important to her."

"I feel he's with his mom now," he said.

Aside from his police duties, Goto was also the resident manager at a Kalihi apartment complex. "He was good at listening. He knew how to talk to people," said Alan Goto.

Aono said: "He was a very outgoing guy and cheerful person. ... He was very protective of people."

Goto was also a devoted father to his 6-year-old-son, Bowen. "He lived for his son," Aono said. "He was a good father."

Funeral services are pending.

Ester Espinda described her former high school sweetheart as a kind, helpful person.

"He was always a good friend whenever anybody needed him," Espinda said. "He was always there for me." She said she visited the site to let Goto know he was loved.

"He died so quickly, so young," she said.

Espinda and Goto were no longer sweethearts, but she said they kept in touch.

She said she last talked to him on Monday. Espinda said Goto told her he was leaving the solo bike detail to become a patrol officer and then work his way into the Vice Division.

"The last thing I told him was to drive carefully," she said.


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