Within eight days, two people were killed in auto collisions on Maui and several more sustained critical injuries, proving yet again that automobiles and alcohol are a deadly combination, as are reckless driving, excess speed, and careless safety precautions.
Nineteen-year-old Hannah Brown from Wailuku died in an automobile collision on June 23 at 1:27am. Brown was the passenger in a 2003 Honda Civic traveling north on Kuihelani Highway, three miles north of Honoapi‘ilani Highway in Kahului, when a 2016 Subaru Forester traveling south in the northbound lane collided with them head-on, Maui Police Department reported.
The driver of the Subaru was identified Monday as Lynsey Jio, a 23-year-old female from Kula. Preliminary investigations revealed that alcohol was a factor in this crash. Jio did not sustain any injuries and was subsequently arrested for negligent homicide in the first degree and operating a vehicle under the influence of liquor, according to MPD. She has since been released, pending investigation.
The operator of the Honda was identified as a 19-year-old male from Kahului. He was transported to Maui Memorial Medical Center with non-life-threatening injuries. Brown’s death was Maui County’s 11th traffic fatality of 2019 as compared to four this time last year, MPD said.
Liquor isn’t the only danger on our roads: Speed and distraction play a role too. On June 20 at approximately 2:05am, two teen women aged 14 and 16 sustained life-threatening injuries in a single-car collision on Maui Lani Parkway. The driver involved was arrested for negligent injury in the first degree and driving without a valid license. MPD’s preliminary investigation revealed speed as a factor.
The collision occurred when a 2003 Toyota Tacoma pick-up truck traveling southeast on Maui Lani Parkway lost control and collided into a tree in the grass median. The operator of the Toyota was identified as an 18-year-old female from Kahului. There were three juvenile female passengers within the truck.
The driver and front passenger were wearing their seat belts. One of the rear-seat passengers was wearing her seat belt at the time. It is undetermined if the other rear-seat passenger was wearing her seat belt, and the involvement of drugs and alcohol have yet to be determined as well. As is common in these crashes, the arrested driver was subsequently released pending further investigation, according to the MPD. Once the investigation is complete, it will be sent to the Prosecutor’s Office for review.
Four days before this incident, on June 16 at approximately 9:22pm, 39-year-old Teresa Pham of Spring, Texas was killed riding in a Nissan sedan to the airport on Hali‘imaile Road. The police announcement stated she “sustained fatal injuries as a result of a collision and was pronounced dead at the scene.” The 48-year-old driver of the sedan, along with three passengers (two 50-year-olds and a 14-year-old), also sustained injuries that required they be transported to the Maui Memorial Medical Center.
Preliminary investigation revealed a Honda Accord sedan was traveling northeast on Hali‘imaile Road when it crossed left of center and collided with the driver’s side of a Land Rover Discovery SUV, which was traveling in the opposite direction. After the Honda sideswiped the Land Rover, it continued traveling left of center when it collided head-on with the Nissan sedan, which was also traveling in the opposite direction on Hali‘imaile Road.
The driver of the Honda Accord, a 23-year-old female resident of Pa‘ia, was transported to Maui Memorial Medical Center in critical condition. The Land Rover had a total of five occupants when it was sideswiped. None of the five occupants in the SUV sustained injuries that required hospitalization.
In this case, and all mentioned, investigations are still pending to into alcohol and drug use, excess speed, and negligent use of seat belts as contributing factors.
That was Maui County’s 10th traffic fatality of 2019 – a devastating figure broken just seven days later on Kuihelani Highway when Hannah Brown lost her life.
Maybe if we discuss the deadly nature of driving on our individual social media platforms and with our families and friends, we can raise awareness. And awareness leads to action. We’ve greatly reduced traffic deaths by the enforcement of seat belt laws but more than laws, we each have to take personal responsibility for driving safely. If we don‘t, tragedies and funerals will continue to be the consequence.