Family of pedestrian killed by trolley driver in Kakaako files suit
By Leila Fujimori
Posted October 31, 2019
The family of a 76-year-old pedestrian struck and killed Nov. 15 by a trolley driven by an alleged drunken driver in Kakaako filed a lawsuit Tuesday in Circuit Court.
An Oli Oli trolley hit Ernest Urata and “dragged him over two crosswalks before he fell out” and was run over, the family’s attorney, Wayne Kekina said.
Urata’s estate sued the 52-year-old trolley driver, David Kmetz, who was charged Sept. 16 with first-degree negligent homicide.
Kmetz’s blood alcohol concentration was 0.182, police said, more than twice the legal limit of o.o8 BAC. Police said Kmetz told them he had a shot of vodka 15 minutes before he hit Urata in a crosswalk on Auahi Street.
Police also said they found a half-full bottle of vodka in Kmetz’s pants pocket.
The complaint also names Travel Plaza Transportation LLC, owner of the trolley, and JTB Hawaii Travel, the operator.
Urata, a programmer analyst at the Aerospace Corp. in Los Angeles before his retirement, is survived by his sister, Lorna Kawahara, and brother, Glenn.
On Nov. 15, Urata was walking on the sidewalk on the west side of Cooke Street, heading north toward the intersection of Cooke and Auahi streets, the complaint said.
Kmetz, who was operating the Oli Oli vehicle, failed to yield the right of way to Urata. Instead he entered the intersection at Auahi and Cooke and struck Urata in the crosswalk, causing fatal injuries.
Kekina said the Oli Oli bus is equipped with onboard video cameras, including one on the front outside of the bus. But when asked, Travel Plaza Transportation claimed it was broken, he said.
“The lawsuit will allow us to obtain the video,” Kekina said. “We want to hold all of them accountable.”
Kmetz pleaded not guilty on Oct. 17 to the negligent homicide charge, a class B felony.
He is on supervised release, must remain in the state and is not allowed to drive a motor vehicle pending this case.
His license was revoked Nov. 19 for one year. The criminal case is set for trial on Dec. 16.