Dad says driver was
not type to race cars

The Schofield soldier
was among three who
died in an H-1 pileup


Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2003

>> Carl Koonce III was driving the Safety Systems Hawaii Inc. truck that was rear-ended by a car suspected of racing on the H-1 freeway early Friday. A Page A1 article Sunday and a brief on Page A5 yesterday incorrectly reported his first name as Carol.

The Honolulu Star-Bulletin strives to make its news report fair and accurate. If you have a question or comment about news coverage, call Editor Frank Bridgewater at 529-4791 or email him at

The father of one of the three Schofield Barracks soldiers killed in a three-vehicle wreck Friday on the H-1 Freeway said he has trouble believing his son was racing.

"It's not like my kid. My kid never was into that kind of thing. He'd had to have been egged on by somebody," William A. Bordwell Jr. said by telephone yesterday from his home in Rotterdam, N.Y.

"That doesn't sound like him, but that doesn't mean it didn't happen."

Army Spc. Jason J. Bordwell was driving the second car that crashed into a truck on the H-1 Freeway at about 3 a.m. Friday, his father said.

Bordwell, 22, was married to a Hawaii woman and has a 20-month-old son. His father described his middle son, as "not that wild kid. He's that quiet kid in the corner that you don't notice. ... He wasn't a leader among his peers. He was a quiet follower."

Bordwell was one of three Schofield soldiers who died in Friday's fiery crash on the west-bound H-1 Freeway, just before the Waipahu off-ramp.

The names of the other soldiers had not yet been released yesterday, pending the notification of relatives.

Also killed at the scene was Mariano Salangdron Sr., 49, a Safety Systems Hawaii worker who was riding in the cab of a flatbed work truck when the first of two Mitsubishi Eclipse sport coupes ran into it from the rear.

The impact exploded the truck's gas tank, burning the two Schofield soldiers in the first Mitsubishi beyond recognition.

Bordwell was trapped in the crushed car as it burned, his father said.

The Honolulu medical examiner had not determined the official cause of death yesterday for any of the fatalities.

According to police, a passerby pulled Bordwell's passenger, Army Spc. Carlos Molestina-Arteaga, 23, of Bloomfield, N.J., out of the car to safety.

Both Bordwell and Molestina-Arteaga were assigned to the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 125th Signal Battalion.

Molestina-Arteaga and the driver of the Safety Systems truck, Carol "Sonny" Koonce III, both were released from the Queen's Medical Center yesterday.

Patricia Simoes, a Schofield Barracks spokeswoman, said the Army wouldn't have further comment on the incident until all of the soldiers' families have been notified, which had not happened yesterday.

Police will be talking to the survivors when they are capable of it, said a spokeswoman for the police traffic division.

Police have said the two Mitsubishis were speeding and are suspected of racing, although calculations of their actual speed hadn't been completed yesterday.

Bordwell's father was emotional yesterday as he described how he and his younger son, Brent, 16, spent more than a month in Hawaii last summer with Jason Bordwell, his wife and their son, Jordan.

"Brent looked up to his brother. I think he wanted to follow in his brother's footsteps by going into the military -- he's spoken about it," Bordwell said.

They timed their visit here to attend his grandson's first-year birthday luau on July 23, Bordwell said.

Though he was so small -- at 5 feet 5 inches, 108 pounds -- that he almost didn't make the weight cutoff to join the Army, Bordwell said his son was active in high school sports, including varsity hockey and wrestling at Mohonasen High School in Rotterdam, N.Y.

Since being stationed in Hawaii four years ago, his son learned to surf and scuba dive, Bordwell said.

Both Jason Bordwell and his wife, also a Schofield soldier, were preparing to serve a year in Afghanistan and planned to leave their son in the care of another Schofield Army wife, Bordwell said.

The Afghanistan tour changed plans for Jason Bordwell to serve his final year of service in Washington, D.C., his father said.

"He would have been a computer programmer at the White House," Bordwell said. "As a parent, let's face it -- on his resume it would have been huge."

Instead, "here I (was) dreading April, when they go to Afghanistan," Bordwell said.

"He's gone to a better place. You've gotta believe there is a better place."

Jason Bordwell also is survived by an older brother, William A. Bordwell III, and his mother Randi Gean Bordwell, of Schenectady, his father said.

Services are pending.


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