Skateboarder towed by car dies from injuries
A 19-year-old died from his injuries Tuesday after he fell from his skateboard while being towed behind a vehicle on Apapane Street in Kaneohe.
The accident happened early Tuesday morning at around 2:30 a.m. The father of the victim identified him as Alan Michael Danielson, who graduated from James B. Castle High School last year and lived at the family's home at 45-550 Apapane Street.
Emergency responders say Danielson was being towed by a car when he lost control and crashed, sustaining significant injuries to his head. He was initially transported to the Queen's Medical Center in extremely critical condition, where he later died.
"It's hard for me too cause I feel like he's my grandson too," said neighbor Rosetta Lum, whose grandson grew up with Danielson since the age of three. "He was always at my house with my grandson," she added tearfully. "He was a very good boy."
Neighbors in the area say the smooth, windy road is ideal for skateboarding, but that reckless behavior is commonplace.
"All the time they're riding from the top of the hill coming down," said Kaneohe resident Norman Remigio, who lives near the scene of the accident. "I even stop them a couple times and tell them, 'You know, you guys should go in the park. What's going to happen if you guys get hurt? If a car comes and bangs you?'"
Lt. Robert Towne, Honolulu Police Department traffic spokesman, said the accident is currently classified as a possible case of negligent homicide in the third degree involving the driver of the car. If charged and convicted, the driver faces up to 30 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.
Towne added that Danielson was hanging on to the passenger side of a car driven by another 19-year-old Kaneohe man, who is a neighbor and friend of the victim.
Under state law, it's illegal to tow anyone on a skateboard, bicycle or other wheeled toy behind a car or moped. Violators face a $72 fine, according to Honolulu Police spokeswoman Teresa Bell.
The last skateboarding related death on Oahu happened on April 17 when Reid Krucky, 16, was killed while being towed by a moped on his skateboard. Krucky lost control and hit his head on the pavement on Kalanipuu Street. He was taken by ambulance in critical condition to a trauma center where he later died.
That death prompted city Councilman Joey Manahan to sponsor two bills that would require skateboarders to wear helmets at skateboard parks and other public places, such as streets and sidewalks.
Both bills failed to pass the Parks Committee in June, but Manahan convened a task force of stakeholders to consider ways of making skateboarding more safe. After meetings and follow-up communications between task force members, Manahan said he's considering another bill that would change the definition of skateboards and other wheeled toys to fit the state's existing bicycle helmet law for kids. The law has been in effect since 2001, and states that anyone under the age of 16 must wear a helmet while riding.
"My next steps are meeting with the city prosecutor to see how we can address it from the judiciary standpoint, because they're the ones that basically have to go and try these cases if they do get tried in court," said Manahan. "I'm ready to push a bill out maybe in about a month, two at the most depending on what the city prosecutor advises us to do."
In May, KITV4 reported the helmet law for kids is hardly every enforced, with Honolulu Police issuing a total of two citations all of last year. Manahan conceded enforcement of the helmet law is a concern, but said the inclusion of skateboards and other wheeled toys could help raise community awareness.
"Hopefully, the parents and children will have their awareness raised so that they would reconsider if they weren't going to wear a helmet before," said the councilman.
Danielson is survived by his parents Michael and Dawn Danielson and his two sisters, Jade and Samantha.
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