Sources: Trolley bus driver who fatally struck pedestrian had bottle of alcohol on him

Paramedics said the 76-year-old victim was pronounced dead at the scene.

Sources: Trolley bus driver who fatally struck pedestrian had bottle of alcohol on him

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A trolley bus driver arrested Thursday after fatally striking a 76-year-old pedestrian in Kakaako had a bottle of alcohol on him, police sources said.

David Kmetz (Image: HPD mug)
David Kmetz (Image: HPD mug)

The crash happened about 3:50 p.m. Thursday at the intersection of Auahi and Cooke Streets.

Police said the driver, 52-year-old David Kmetz, was arrested at the scene for negligent homicide and operating a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant.

He refused a field sobriety test, but later took one at HPD headquarters and blew far above the legal limit, sources told Hawaii News Now.

On Friday, Kmetz was released from police custody pending further investigation.

Defense attorney and former Honolulu police officer Jonathan Burge said that’s typical in vehicle deaths.

"They have to do very detailed measurements and things of that nature. So the report writing and the investigation takes a little bit more time," said Burge.

Kmetz has a record of minor traffic infractions, but no prior driving under the influence cases.

Paramedics said the victim, who had been walking in a crosswalk, was pronounced dead at the scene.

New video obtained by Hawaii News Now seems to show the driver ignoring a stop sign.

Meanwhile, the company that owns the tour bus, Travel Plaza Transportation, said the driver has worked for them for less than a year.

(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)

“We feel terrible about this accident and the death of the victim, and are cooperating fully with the police as they conduct their investigation,” said Yujiro Kuwabara, the company’s president.

Scott Naguwa, who works near to where the crash happened, said he heard yelling for help just after the crash.

“We all ran outside,” he said, adding that it was clear the pedestrian had died on impact.

A half-dozen witnesses on board the tour bus witnessed the crash, police said.

The fatality comes during a deadly year on Oahu roadways.

So far in 2018, 58 people have died in traffic fatalities on the island, 26 of whom were pedestrians.

That’s compared to 38 traffic-related fatalities on the island this same time last year, five of whom were pedestrians.

“It’s a tragic year. We’re at a very high number and it’s way too high for what we would want," said police Lt. James Slayter. "We would love it to be no fatalities, but unfortunately we had another one today. It’s a somber reminder for all the drivers out there today, slow down, be cautious, watch out for one another.”

Police: Pedestrian killed in Kakaako crash

Travel Plaza Transportation is the same company whose driver struck and killed Jui Ching-Hu on her 65th birthday near Ala Moana Center last February.

The company also owned the tour bus that caused a fiery crash on the Pali in 2011, in which victims were taken to the hospital with serious injuries.

Negligent homicide in the first degree is a Class B felony, which is punishable up to 10 years in prison.

Sources said Kmetz had a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) and could face enhanced penalities.

This story will be updated.

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