There are a number of dangers that accompany the decision to drive on Hawaii roadways. For those who are on or near the road outside of a motor vehicle, those dangers are exponentially multiplied. In car accidents involving a vehicle and an individual who is walking, riding a bicycle or otherwise unprotected by an enclosed vehicle, there can be little doubt as to which party will suffer the brunt of damage and injuries.
Such an incident recently took place in Kalaeloa, when an on-duty police officer crashed his patrol vehicle into a homeless man in a wheelchair. The force of the collision brought grave injury to the man, who lost his life as a result. The officer has been placed on administrative leave while the investigation into the matter continues.
Upon early reports, it appears that the officer was transporting two juveniles to a Youth Challenge Facility at around 8:20 p.m. on a recent Friday evening. He was driving on a stretch of road that was unlit when the collision took place. There are no sidewalk in the area, and the man was using the wheelchair to travel in the roadway on the right side.
As this investigation continues, police will work to determine if the officer was distracted at the time of the collision, or simply failed to see the wheelchair in the road in time to avoid a collision. Should it be determined that the incident was the result of negligence on the part of the officer, the family of the man killed in the crash could decide to file a wrongful death suit in the matter. For those is Hawaii who choose to use area roadways outside of a motor vehicle, this most recent of car accidents serves as a warning of the dangers inherent in that choice.
Source: Hawaii News Now, “HPD officer under investigation for crash that killed a man in a wheelchair“, Lynn Kawano, Sept. 6, 2014