Police suspect racing in crash that left top triathlete critically injured

Lectie Altman

A 33-year-old woman remains in intensive care at Queen’s Medical Center after she was hit by a speeding car Thursday evening.

It happened at 5:30 p.m. on the 2900 block of Tantalus Drive.

According to police, Taylor Liang, 20, was drifting and racing with another car when he lost control and hit a bicyclist.

Lectie Altman is one of the top female amateur triathletes in the state, and was training with others at the time of the crash.

Liang was arrested on suspicion of negligent injury and released pending further investigation Friday afternoon.

The crash is raising concerns among those in the cycling community and area residents.

Lectie Altman

Fellow triathlete Lori McCarney was shocked to hear the news.

“Lectie is an awesome young woman. I’ve trained with her for the last several years. She’s somebody that people in the triathlon community and general athletic community really look up to,” she said.

McCarney says it could have happened to anyone.

“Lectie was in the wrong place in the wrong time, but it could have been a little kid. It could have been a kupuna. It could have been somebody out walking their dog,” she said. “This was about dangerous, reckless driving and a lack of respect for other people.”

Makiki Heights resident Marcus Bender walks Tantalus Drive daily. He sees vehicles driving fast and erratically “every day and every night. Everything from cars to motorcycles to two cycles, they’re up here racing all the time.”

Cyclist Jeff Kozlovich says he rides Tantalus at least once a week, and it’s up to everyone to be safe on the road.

“There’s obviously a lot of people that don’t cycle that don’t understand that bikes get to use the road too,” he said.

KHON2 spoke with Altman’s friends and training partners who said the entire cycling community is shaken by what happened.

It’s been a difficult 24 hours for those closest to Altman.

“I woke up this morning and I have no idea what I’m doing,” Raul Boca said.

“I think we’re all in shock, I don’t really know any other way to describe it” Ryan Leong said.

Boca and Leong have known Altman for several years and many miles of swimming, running and biking.

The two are just a few of many in the triathlon community who’ve gathered at Queen’s Medical Center, pulling for Altman’s recovery.

Altman is a highly-rated champion triathlete who’s competed in multiple Ironman events and placed first in her division on numerous occasions.

“She’s the sweetest person in the world, she’ll do anything for anyone,” Boca said.

“She’s a tremendous athlete and for something like this to happen that really is senseless,” Leong said.

“Lectie was in the wrong place in the wrong time, but it could have been a little kid. it could have been a kupuna. It could have been somebody out walking their dog. This was about dangerous, reckless driving and a lack of respect for other people,” Lori McCarney, another friend of Altman’s, said.

Boca and Leong told KHON2 this isn’t the first time a cyclist they know has been seriously injured.

They hope what happened to Altman will make people look and think twice when getting behind the wheel.

“If people are watching this now, when they wake up tomorrow morning, I want them to think there’ll be people like Lectie and me and Ryan and everybody else on the road tomorrow morning riding their bike to increase the quality of their lives,” Boca said.

“As a cyclist, you’re never gonna win versus a car,” Leong said. “We all have to be better about following the rules of the road.”

Anyone who may have witnessed or has more information about the crash is asked to call HPD’s Traffic Division at (808) 723-3413.

It’s unknown at this time if alcohol or drugs were factors in the crash.

The road was closed until about 8:15 p.m.

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