NANAKULI (HawaiiNewsNow) - A Nanakuli family mourned the loss of a 40 year-old man who was a son, a brother and a father, and who was killed in an early morning pedestrian accident on Saturday.
Family members believed Byron Ching was walking home in the early morning darkness, just blocks from his Nanakuli home, when he was hit by an SUV. Flowers now mark the spot at the intersection of Farrington Highway and Haleakala Avenue where Ching died.
"This morning, we went down to put some flowers at the site," said Byron's mother, Virginia Ching, "And my daughter breaked (sic). And I said, 'no, be strong. Be strong.'"
Virginia Ching said it was typical of Byron to be walking somewhere in the middle of the night.
"I don't know if he came from another job, or what. But I know he normally goes to the store to get snacks and walk home, you know?" she said.
Virginia Ching said she found out about her son's death after her mother called her. Virginia was told to call a phone number, which turned out to be the line to the city medical examiner's office.
"Actually, I found out when my mom was talking to me, I overheard in the background, 'Byron died.' And I breaked (sic) and everything," she said.
Virginia Ching said Byron was a good father to his three daughters, but wasn't home that much, because he usually was at work in Honolulu. She said that Byron didn't drive, and would take the bus or walk to wherever he needed to go.
He also was a big volleyball fan.
"Even when he had his children he used to go coach the girls volleyball league, and he goes wherever there's a volleyball game," she said.
Police identified the driver of the SUV as Marcela Guerrero Mercado, 30, of Waianae. Authorities initially reported that alcohol may have been a factor in the crash. Police did not charge Mercado with driving under the influence, but charged her with negligent homicide. She was released pending further investigation.
"My sons drink, yes," said Virginia Ching. "And I always told them don't drink and drive, because anything happen, you going pay the consequences."
Byron Ching was pronounced dead at the scene.
"I told my family at least he didn't have to suffer. I mean, its said that he's gone, but he don't have to suffer," Ching said.
According to Honolulu police, Byron Ching's death was the 45th traffic fatality of the year so far on Oahu, compared to 40 a year ago.