Couple hit in deadly crash urges drivers to slow down on Pali Hwy.

Photo: Sonny Aquino

A deadly crash on Pali Highway over the weekend has drivers and area residents raising concerns about speeding.

It happened at around 11 p.m. on Saturday, June 10, just south of the tunnels.

According to police, the 29-year-old man was speeding southbound on the highway and hit another vehicle.

His vehicle veered onto the grass shoulder, hit the guardrail, swerved back onto the road, and overturned. He was thrown from the vehicle, hospitalized in critical condition, and later died.

KHON2 spoke with the couple who was in the car that was hit.

While Sonny and Rose Aquino are grateful that they were not seriously injured, they’re asking drivers to slow down before tragedy strikes another family.

“I was so grateful that we were safe, but at the same time, I really felt sad for this young guy, because he was just driving too fast,” said Rose Aquino.

Their car is badly damaged with the left rear tire taken out from the crash, but they walked away with no more than a sore neck and back.

The couple says they had just gone through the tunnel driving about 45 miles per hour heading into town. They say they never saw the car coming up from behind.

All of a sudden, they felt an impact as if they had just hit a wall.

“I tried to get control of the car and as soon as I stopped, I really saw him ricochet to the left and to the right and then he was rolling like that boom, sparks,” said Sonny Aquino.

It’s unknown if alcohol was a factor in the crash.

This is the 20th traffic fatality on Oahu, compared to 18 at this same time last year.

We reached out to the Nuuanu-Punchbowl Neighborhood Board. Chairman Philip Nerney told us that in addition to speeding, residents have also raised concerns about putting more lights on Pali Highway.

In a statement, Nerney wrote:

“Neighborhood Board 12 has had longstanding concerns about pedestrian and traffic safety on the Pali Highway.  The State Department of Transportation has been unresponsive to those concerns, and DOT has specifically resisted requests for DOT representatives to appear at our meetings.”

The department has tried to solve the speeding problems in the past.

In 2003, crews put rumble strips to get drivers to slow down. The state says it was working, but all that rumbling drew noise complaints from area residents, so the state took the strips out after a few months.

The Aquinos hope something gets done, and drivers become more aware of what can happen when they’re speeding.

“We’re always in a rush and it’s really not worth it. Really when you’re speeding and when you’re rushing, you’re just waiting for an accident to happen,” said Rose Aquino.

KHON2 was unable to contact the DOT because of the holiday, but we’ll check back and find out why it has not responded to the concerns raised by the neighborhood board.

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