Teen, parents sued in fatal H-1 wreck; lawyer cites racing

March 20, 2002

By Curtis Lum, ADVERTISER STAFF WRITER

The husband of a woman who was killed when their van was hit by a car that allegedly was racing on H-1 Freeway last year is suing a teenager and his parents.

Attorney Wayne Kekina filed the Circuit Court lawsuit yesterday on behalf of Wallace Kekoa against Nicholas Tudisco and his parents, Michael and Cynthia Tudisco.

Kekoa was the driver of a Ford Aerostar van that was struck by a Honda Prelude on H-1 Freeway early on Aug. 26, 2001.

Kekoa's wife, Elizabeth, a 58-year-old teacher at Holy Trinity School, was killed. Wallace Kekoa was hospitalized with head, neck and other injuries.

Neither the Tudiscos nor Nicholas Tudisco's attorney, Michael Green, could be reached for comment yesterday.

The lawsuit says Nicholas Tudisco was racing and driving in excess of 100 mph when he lost control of his car near the 6th Avenue off-ramp. The car bounced off a median and swerved into the Kekoa van, the suit said.

Tudisco, who was 18 at the time, was arrested but has not been charged. The former studentathlete at St. Louis School is enrolled at Cuesta College in San Luis Obispo, Calif., where he plays on the baseball team.

The lawsuit accuses Tudisco of modifying his 1999 Prelude with "high-performance parts" but failing to obtain the required state permits. Tudisco, the lawsuit states, also acted negligently by taking part in an illegal street race on the morning of the fatal accident.

Michael and Cynthia Tudisco were the registered owners of the Honda Prelude, the lawsuit states. The lawsuit says the parents knew, or should have known, of the illegal modifications to the car, but allowed their son to drive the vehicle.

In 1999 and 2000, the lawsuit states, Nicholas Tudisco was convicted of speeding, and his parents "should have known that their son was an irresponsible, dangerous and unsafe driver." Despite the record, the lawsuit says, Tudisco was allowed to "transform (the Prelude) into a high-performance vehicle capable of high speed."

Kekoa is seeking an undetermined amount in damages.

In addition to the lawsuit, Kekina yesterday said that his firm will "vigorously pursue" anyone else who may have been involved in the alleged race or collision on Aug. 26. Kekina asks that anyone with information on the accident call him, Gregory Lui-Kwan or Stephen Hungerford at 524-1433.