Grief and unanswered questions after woman is struck by tour bus

Patrick Ching
Patrick Ching
Amanda Hurst
Amanda Hurst

By Paul Drewes - bio | email

WAIMANALO (KHNL) - A fatality on the Windward side of Oahu, shuts down part of a busy roadway, and opens up questions over a woman's mental health.

The Naturally Hawaiian Gallery has been along this stretch of Kalanianiole Highway for over a decade. And during that time, artist Patrick Ching, would get regular visits by his neighbor Ilima Cook.

"This was her spot, she loved to hang out under the trees, under this spot. Even before I opened this place she was hanging out here," said Ching.

Other neighbors would always see her walking along this road on her way to the store for cigarettes. But on this morning, according to witnesses, including those on an Enoa tour bus, Ilima didn't stay on the side of the road.

"The bus driver, I felt him stop cause she was in the road. I felt him stop and she backed away. As soon as he started going again she ran in front of the bus and dove under it. I felt him come to a complete stop and roll over her," said passenger Amanda Hurst, from California.

The 44 year old Waimanalo woman died under the bus. Just in front of her family home. Traumatizing relatives, neighbors and those on the bus.

"I got off the bus and saw her under there and I got sick. It was devastating," said Hurst.

Emergency crews spend hours investigating the fatal accident. Then removed her body from underneath the bus. As it was taken away, sadness settled along this quiet stretch of Waimanalo.

It seemed like everyone around, knew her. And know of the mental difficulties she faced.

"Ilima was always talking to herself, or what appeared to be talking to herself. She had friends that we didn't see. She had schizophrenia," said Ching, who then added "I'm going to miss having her around, she added a lot of personality to our place."

The incident is under investigation. This is Oahu's fifth fatal pedestrian accident this year, and the 25th fatality on our roads.