It wasn’t a great start to the week for some motorists as several of their vehicles are in the shop after running over debris on the H-1 Freeway on Monday morning.
The debris closed a lane of the freeway heading westbound near Pearl City for about one hour.
Several cars pulled over with damaged tires caused by the debris. Police say that a jack that fell from a semi-truck trailer was found on the roadway, causing several flat tires and damaged rims.
At least one accident was caused by drivers swerving to avoid it.
“It’s just after the Christmas season, everyone spent a lot of money! It’s not the merriest Christmas gift, having to spend more money to pay for something you weren’t expecting,” said Kimi Matsushima.
She said she was heading to Kapolei for work this morning, driving along the left lane of the H-1 westbound. Around 6:30, Matsushima said she “hit something. I didn’t know what it was. I didn’t see it. The tires … I felt them explode. So I pulled over.”
HPD showed up to assist Matsushima, but she noticed something bizarre. “We pulled off at the Waipahu exit. All of a sudden, all these cars started pulling over, too!”
“As I was driving to get her, I was like, ‘wow, there’s all these cars pulled over,” said Matsushima’s fiance, Nigel Kingsbury. “Maybe she’s here … I drove passed the first car, the second car, then the fourth car … like, wow, not in this group. Did I miss her? And nope, she was in the second group, with three more cars.”
It turns out that several motorists reported running over the same jack.
Matsushima’s 2014 Kia Soul is now at Central Body and Repair Shop as insurance adjusters investigate.
“Based on initial reports, it looks like seven vehicles are reported damaged,” said Geico auto damage adjuster Victor Heung.
He pointed out the severe slashes and dents on Matsushima’s passenger side tires. “(The jack) pierced the tire, went right into the lip of the rim, so we probably need to change the rim and tire. Same thing on that side.”
Heung said it can take up to a week before Matsushima can get her car back, and the price tag to fix it is at least $1,500.
“Regardless if it was debris from a semi-truck, or debris on the road, we’d still cover it. It’s just a matter of who to pursue,” he added.
Police said it does not know who or what company the jack belonged to, so no one has been cited. The same with the state Dept. of Transportation, who is waiting on an official tally on the number of cars damaged.