By late September of last year, the number of people who lost their lives on the roadways of Hawaii’s second largest island was 11. This year, the number of people who have died in car accidents is already at 18. That number includes a woman who lost her life in a recent one-vehicle crash.
Preliminary police reports indicate that the vehicle in which the woman was a passenger was traveling along the Lahaina Bypass going south. At about 12:45 a.m., the driver reportedly lost control of the vehicle, though it is not yet clear why. The car veered into the grass off the shoulder and began to spin. It then careened back onto the roadway and slammed into a guardrail.
Despite the fact that the 26-year-old woman was properly restrained at the time, she suffered fatal injuries and died at the scene. Ironically, the 24-year-old driver did not take the time to fasten his seat belt and did not suffer any injuries. Maui police say the airbags in the vehicle did deploy.
Police believe that alcohol and speed were factors in the crash, but officials are not yet sure whether drugs were involved as well. Officers took the driver into custody for manslaughter. He was later released while the investigation continues.
Sadly, the woman’s family will now have to find a way to deal with the emotional and financial impact of her death. They will incur expenses they were most likely not prepared for since her death was sudden and premature. They may exercise their right to file a wrongful death claim against the driver, seeking financial damages that are typically applicable to fatal car accidents. The family will need to prove to a Hawaii civil court that the driver was somehow negligent, and that negligence led to the victim’s death. Should a criminal conviction be secured, proof of that may advance the family’s cause in any related civil court proceeding.
Source: Hawaii News Now, “Kihei woman dies in overnight vehicle crash“, , Sept. 20, 2014