Rescue workers surveyed the scene Wednesday after a car slid down the side of a cliff along Honoapiilani Highway in Maalaea, Maui.

Car yields few clues
to Maui crash

WAILUKU » Maui police traffic investigators examined yesterday the car that tumbled down a 150-foot cliff off the Lahaina pali, as part of their probe into the deaths of two residents and critical injury of a 3-month-old baby.

"Nothing was recovered at this time to indicate they were under the influence of any intoxicants," said police Lt. Jeffrey Tanoue, head of the traffic investigation section.

Tanoue said as a matter of procedure, blood samples were taken from the two fatalities, and the results of the toxicological tests should be known in about three weeks.

Tanoue said the four people in the vehicle left the car for a while, then returned and were driving out when the car tipped to the right and tumbled over the cliff. An initial police report had incorrectly indicated the car was parked with the four inside, then suddenly lurched forward and went off the cliff.

The accident occurred along a gravel road turnoff overlooking the ocean, shortly before 5:17 p.m. Wednesday, about a quarter-mile north of a state lookout along Honoapiilani Highway.

Dead at the scene were the driver, Denise Callo, 34, and passenger James Makekau, 16, both of Pukalani. Makekau was a sophomore at Baldwin High School.

Other passengers were a 16-year-old girl, Tiffany Romena, who suffered minor abrasions, and her 3-month-old baby girl, Kaila Kuulei Callo.

The baby, who had a bruise around her right eye, was flown to Oahu and listed in critical condition yesterday at Kapiolani Medical Center for Women & Children.

Traffic investigator Ericlee Correa said yesterday a child seat was found outside under the front portion of the car. The baby did not appear to have been restrained in the child seat, Correa said.

The baby was taken out of the car by an off-duty police officer, airlifted by helicopter to Honoapiilani Highway and then taken by ambulance to Maui Memorial Medical Center.

Romena got out of the vehicle as it was descending and climbed up the cliff to the road to get help, police said.

"It's a miracle," said George Romena, Tiffany Romena's great-uncle.

He said Romena and her mother flew to Oahu yesterday to be with Kaila.

Romena was walking with crutches and looked "all right," he said.

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