Friends of motorcyclist killed in freeway crash plead for witnesses

Friends of motorcyclist killed in freeway crash plead for witnesses
Jason Conner
Jason Conner

By Minna Sugimoto - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – Friends of a motorcyclist killed in a crash near Red Hill Wednesday morning are pleading for witnesses to come forward. Police say the man was traveling the wrong way on Moanalua Freeway, when a vehicle may have run over him and kept going.

Prosecutors say the crash victim, Chad Morimatsu, 24, was awaiting trial on a DUI charge.

When Jason Conner needed a groomsman at his wedding, he asked long-time buddy Chad Morimatsu. When it came time for Conner to choose a godfather for his baby boy, he again turned to his former Moanalua High schoolmate.

"If I needed help, he going be there. That's for sure," the victim's close friend said. "I just want to let everybody know that Chad was a good guy."

Morimatsu, who turned 24 last month, was killed in a motorcycle crash on Moanalua Freeway early Wednesday morning. Police say he was traveling east in the west-bound lanes, when he lost control of his bike, fell to the ground, and was possibly struck by a vehicle that left the scene.

"He deserved more than just the side of the road of where someone ran him over and doesn't know what's happened," Conner said. "We really want to know what happened."

He says the Kalihi Valley resident was with his friends at Champions Sports Bar, where he worked as a valet, until it closed at 2 am, and then stopped at Chez Monique Bar in Aiea before heading home.

"Chad went down with them, but he wasn't drinking they said. They said he had a couple glasses of water," Conner said. "I guess he was only there for a little while 'cause they're saying he left around 3 (am)."

The crash was reported at 3:13 am.

"He was a good rider," Conner said. "He wouldn't make the silly mistake of going on the opposite side of the freeway. That's really something that we would really like to find out. I know the family would like to find out."

Driving records show Morimatsu was previously pulled over for speeding and driving under the influence. Investigators believe speed was a factor in the crash.

"I was just thinking, it can not be," Conner said about his friend's sudden death. "Even though I talked to the dad and he confirmed it, it just didn't feel real."

Police say it's not yet known if alcohol or drugs played a role. The Medical Examiner is still working to determine Morimatsu's actual cause of death.

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