Honolulu man killed in fatal Pali Highway collision

By Jill Kuramoto
Published On: Jan 10 2013 01:41:42 PM HST
Updated On: Jan 10 2013 09:23:10 PM HST

The wreck actually started town-bound near the tunnel but ended Kailua bound.

HONOLULU -

A fatal traffic collision shut down the Pali Highway for several hours Thursday morning.

According to Honolulu police, just before 9 a.m., a flatbed tow truck owned by Windward Side Recovery and Trucking was heading Honolulu bound on the Pali when the driver made a U-turn.

Police said the elderly driver in the Toyota Yaris slammed into the back of the tow truck, shearing off the top of the car.

The impact caused the car to spin out and stopped on the opposite side of the highway.

The driver, in his 80s, who has a Honolulu address was pronounced dead at the scene.  His passenger, a woman, also in her 80s, who is possibly his wife, was taken to The Queen's Medical Center in critical condition.

"They may not have seen it. I can’t speak for them, but at this point, they just may not have seen the tow truck sticking out into the roadway," said Lt. Bobby Towne, of the HPD Traffic Homicide Division.

The U-turn is legal for all vehicles.

But following the crash, the police department put in a request to have the Department of Transportation designate the U-turn for emergency vehicles only, considering the narrow width of the U-turn and its close proximity to the tunnel.

Certain approvals must be made before a change is made and signs are installed, but it's too late this time.

PHOTOS: Deadly crash on Pali Highway

2013 is already proving to be a deadly year on Oahu’s roads.  This is now the fourth traffic fatality of the year compared to one at this same time last year.

HPD reminds the public of their "Arrive Alive" campaign that urges both motorists and pedestrians to be aware on the Oahu’s roads.

"We ask everybody on both sides, we need to slow down and look out," said Towne.

Police have not arrested the driver of the tow truck and right now say neither speed nor alcohol appears to be factors in the crash.  But, the driver was taken in for a blood draw, which is standard procedure in their investigations.

Honolulu police are investigating this crash as a negligent homicide.

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