WAIANAE (HawaiiNewsNow) - The sudden impact when the car crashed into a tree crushed the 1998 Chevrolet Malibu and killed its driver Anthony Paul Freitas of Waianae.
"He is my oldest son, just made 29 years old," Sose Freitas Soseme said.
She said Anthony was the oldest of her six children.
The accident happened at about 2:15 a.m. Friday on Farrington Highway near Keaau Beach Park.
At noon, Freitas family brought balloons and flowers to mark the spot where he died.
"When they called me this morning, I just snapped," Freitas Soseme said. "I didn't know what to do. I never knew that he was going to die like this."
Honolulu police said the roads were wet and Freitas wasn't wearing a seat belt when his car veered off the highway and hit the tree head on.
"It was really loud. You could hear an echo in your body. Boom!" Flo Alaivanu said.
The car clipped an empty homeless tent.
The tree may have stopped it from plowing into other tents that were occupied, including Alaivanu's.
"The tire of the vehicle actually ended up on our side," she said. "I can imagine if it (the tree) wasn't here it would have been our place and it would have probably been our tent."
Car parts from the Malibu were strewn around the tree. The impact split the tree's trunk and splintered its branches.
"That's the only way he could go up the tree like that is speeding," Freitas Soseme said.
Freitas was a cashier at Waianae Market. He and his girlfriend have two children - a five-year-old daughter and a two-year-old son.
His mother doesn't know what Freitas was doing on that stretch of Farrington Highway at two in the morning when his life ended in an instant.