At least seven major traffic accidents kept first reponders busy this weekend on Maui. The most tragic of the incidents resulted in the death of an infant in one accident and the death of an eldedrly woman in another.
That accident happened Friday afternoon at 4:52 p.m. at the Veterans of Foreign Wars property on Uluniu Road in Kihei. Maui police say a 2004 Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck was backing up when it struck a one year-old boy, injuring him critically. The boy died a short time later at Maui Memorial Medical Center. The 30 year-old pickup driver – from Pukalani – was not injured. The toddler’s death is the 12th traffic fatality of 2015 – compared with 14 at this time last year. The involvement of speed, alcohol and drugs remain under investigation.
Another crash over the weekend happened inside the parking lot of the Nisei Veterans Memorial Center located at 665 Kahului Beach Road in Kahului. The crash happened shortly after noon Saturday when a white 1999 Mitsubishi Galant four door sedan, began backing in the southern direction, out of a marked parking stall. The driver’s side door of the Galant struck a female pedestrian who was standing near the vehicle and was knocked to the ground. The Galant then continued in the southern direction and collided into the left side of the silver 2006 Honda Element multi purpose vehicle that was stopped behind the Galant. Both vehicles suffered minor damages.
The victim, 87 years of age from Haiku, suffered life threatening injuries and was transported to the Emergency Room at MMMC in critical condition. The Juvenile male operator of the Galant, 11 years of age from Wailuku, and the female operator of the Element, 74 years of age from Paia, did not report any injuries. Circumstances surrounding the youthful driver’s reason for being there have not been explained. KHON-2 reported on Sunday that the 87 year-old woman died from her injuries.
UPDATE: Maui Police have identified the woman who was struck by a car driven by an 11 year-old boy. She is 87 year-old Sueno Saito of Haiku. According to the lastest report, the deceased and the 11 year-old boy are related.
The involvement of speed, alcohol and drug impairment do not appear to be factors in this crash however, they remain under investigation.
There were two incidents this weekend where pedestrians were injured by vehicles as well as a bicycle crash on Crater Road in Kula.
What might be described as a rash of burning sensations erupted around the state on the Fourth of July. On the Big Island, O’ahu and Kaua’i – fire crews were faced with dozens of brush fires charring hundreds of acres.
On Maui, there were at least five notable blazes Saturday and at least two are being termed “suspicious.”
At 2:01 p.m Saturday, firefighters responded to a reported brush fire near Moi Place and Piilani Highway. Kihei firefighters were on scene at 2:10 p.m. and worked to contain a brush fire between Kaiola Place and Piilani Highway. Moi Place bordered the fire area to the south. There were five fire units from Kihei, Wailea and Kahului on scene mopping up a two to three-acre brush fire. Piilani Highway was briefly closed while crews battled the fire. This fire’s cause is still under investigation.
At 4:05 p.m. Saturday, emergency dispatchers received a call for another brush fire starting up about 150 yards to the south of where crews were mopping up at the first fire. Firefighters disconnected fire hoses and drove down the street to attack the second fire, which was about 40 feet wide and around 400 feet long. There were several homes surrounding the fire so crews worked quickly to contain it about 15 minutes later.
Cause is still under investigation, but it does appear suspicious. There’s considerable distance between the two fires, so we do not think it was an ember from the first fire. The southbound lane of Piilani Highway was closed for firefighter safety while they were working on the highway shoulder.
It is unknown if fireworks played a roll in either of the fires – or any of the dozens of blazes that flared across the state.
Also on Saturday, a fire caused about $100,000 damage in Happy Valley – displacing a family who had escaped unharmed. Another fire flared up in Lahaina Saturday afternoon and a small fire was quickly doused in Pa’ia.
According to FSO Edward Taomoto, at 1:19 p.m. Friday afternoon, emergency responders were called to a leaking propane storage tank on Lower Main Street, in Wailuku. When Wailuku firefighters arrived at 1:25 p.m., a loud whistling sound was heard coming from a 1,150 gallon propane tank to the rear of Nakamura Mortuary. Lower Main Street was closed for a brief time between Waena Street and Puaala Place. Kawaipuna Place and Nakila Place, off of Lower Main, were also closed to traffic.
A hazardous materials team from Kahului was brought in to take atmospheric readings and determine if there were any flammability hazards. They concluded the area was safe to enter and there was no danger of the gas exploding. Lower Main Street was reopened 30 minutes later.
The HazMat team, along with the owner of the tank, Maui Gas Service, determined that a pressure relief valve properly opened in order to relieve mounting gas pressure most likely caused by Friday’s unusually high temperatures. However, the relief valve failed to re-close after internal pressures dropped to safe levels, so Maui Gas Service workers unloaded the remaining propane into a mobile tank truck.
When the HazMat crew left the scene at 5:47 p.m., Maui Gas Service planned on burning off the remaining flammable vapors so repairs on the stuck valve could be made.
Wailuku – The Department of Water Supply will be replacing a waterline on Kaohu Street in Wailuku from Monday, July 6, to Friday, July 24. The work will be performed in phases. The first week, work will take place on Kaohu Street from Waiale Road to Market Street. The remainder of the three-week project, work will take place on Kaohu Street, from Market Street to Napua Street.
Customers in this area may experience low water pressure or temporary interruption in service during this time. The Department of Water Supply crew will be notifying those whose service will be interrupted as the project progresses. Customers are asked to conserve water and avoid any unnecessary water use during this time. Customers may also wish to store water in preparation for this time period. Traffic will be impacted at or near the work site.
We regret any inconvenience this may cause. Please call the 24-hour service line at 270-7633 if a water-related problem occurs or if there are any questions.
Ask the Mayor
Mayor Alan Arakawa answers some of the most recently asked questions submitted to his office staff.
Dear Mr. Mayor,
Q: I live on Hui Road F and it is a mess, filled with pot holes. It is also extremely dangerous to the children and people walking this road as cars swerve all around the pot holes. After school, the buses drop the kids off at the bottom of the road and as they walk up the road there are cars swerving all around. I know there is some confusion as to who is responsible for the repairs of this road, but we ALL pay the same taxes and road fees. I would really like to see this road get repaired BEFORE we have an accident. Please get someone out here to fix this. Mahalo.
A: I checked with our Dept. of Public Works and unfortunately, Hui Road F is a private road so the owner(s) will need to make the needed repairs. We understand that this Hui Road is under the control of the Second Circuit Court as per a partition action decades ago. It may be possible for the County to accept ownership of the road, but it will take a large effort and some funds to improve it. If there is a Hui Road F association or group that could be formed to act as a single voice on this issue, we have found that type of grassroots action to be a positive way of getting complex issues such as this moving forward and resolved. We would be happy to work with such a group.
Q: I travel through Wailuku town quite frequently, and have noticed that High Street fronting One Main Plaza is in dire shape. I have to drive in the opposite lane sometimes to avoid the big bumps! Central Ave. is also pretty bad; any idea when these roads might be getting some attention? Mahalo.
A: High Street fronting One Main Plaza is part of the Wailuku/Kahului District Resurfacing project, which is scheduled to be advertised for bids by end of this summer. Construction is anticipated to begin by the end of the year. Public Works is aware of the condition of Central Avenue and is scheduling it for resurfacing in 2019.
Q: Half of the public lights at the crossroad between Baldwin Avenue and Makawao Avenue in Makawao are off. Who is responsible for changing light bulbs in the light fixtures along public streets?
A: Street lights are maintained and repaired by Maui Electric Co. (MECO). To report a street light that is out or flashing on and off, call MECO’s trouble hotline at (808) 871-7777. On Lanai, call (808) 565-6445 and on Molokai, call (808) 553-3234.
Want to Ask the Mayor?
Submit your questions about County of Maui programs, services, operations or policies to Mayor Alan Arakawa via email: AskTheMayor@mauicounty.gov, phone: 270-7855 or mail: 200 S. High Street, 9th Floor, Wailuku, Hawaii 96793. Questions submitted will be considered for inclusion in the Ask the Mayor column.
WAILUKU – The County of Maui Dept. of Parks and Recreation today announced a construction project to install lights at the Keopuolani Park Soccer Field #4 will commence July 6. Construction areas at Field #4 will be closed for safety reasons; however, the park will remain open for use.
The project will include excavating holes for the light pole footings, trenching to install conduits and minor demolition to asphalt and concrete to connect to the new lighting controls that will be located in the existing comfort station.
The public is asked to avoid the construction area and equipment at Field #4. To ensure public safety, the area is expected to be closed from July 6 to October 31.
The contractor for the project is Paul’s Electrical Contracting, LLC; total construction cost is $431,049.
For more information, contact Cheryl Akiona, CIP Coordinator, Department of Parks and Recreation, Planning and Development Division, ph. (808) 270-7388 or the Central Maui Parks and Recreation District Office, ph. (808) 270-7980. For general Parks information, visit www.mauicounty.gov/Parks.
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