One week after a man was killed in a crash in Windward Oahu, his family is still reeling from the devastating loss.
Flowers now mark the site, the grass still stained from the crash.
On March 27, Perenise Pele Michael left his Waikane house, hopped into his truck and began driving southbound on Kamehameha Highway.
That’s when the unthinkable happened.
Perenise lost his life only minutes from home, when a SealMaster truck carrying a 3,500-gallon drum of asphalt product came loose and collided into his truck.
He is survived by his wife, Tala Michael, eight kids and one grandchild.
“I’m not okay, that’s for sure. I’m just trying to be strong for my kids,” Tala said, wiping away tears. “He built a foundation for our family.”
“I didn’t believe it,” said Michael’s eldest son, Nikolao Kolose Michael. “My dad is the type of person, he can fight anything. He had gout, he still worked. He had so much pain in him, but he still worked. He won’t waste no time.”
Perenise was also the primary caregiver for Grace, their 8-year-old special needs daughter.
Tala, who works two full-time jobs, says she’s not only dealing with the tragedy of losing her husband, but the financial burden of taking care of the family.
“It’s going to be day by day. I have to put everything in order and rearrange everything to help our kids,” she said.
The Michael family is unhappy with SealMaster Hawaii, saying the company has not tried to reach out to the family.
“This could have all been prevented if he strapped his load down and probably slowed down. This would have never happened if he secured his load,” Nikolao said.
But while the Michael family mourns their loss, they will always have the memories.
“He was a man of his word. What he says, he’ll get the job done,” Nikolao said.
“He is such a loving person, very humble, always a happy go lucky man,” Tala said.
If you’d like to make a contribution to help the Michael family during this time, there is a Bank of Hawaii account set up under Perenise Pele Michael’s name.