Family mourns pedestrian killed in Kalihi crosswalk

Tokuko Ogata
Tokuko Ogata
Dan Meisenzahl
Dan Meisenzahl
John Rose
John Rose

By Lisa Kubota - bio | email

KALIHI (HawaiiNewsNow) - A woman killed in a Kalihi crosswalk on Tuesday morning was exercising before work to improve her health. Evelyn "Ava" Ogata-Rose lived in Whitmore Village with her family. Her husband dropped her off at a bus stop early in the morning.

"The bus was 4 minutes late. Came at 5:07 and I waved to her. She waved to me," recalled John Rose.

Ogata-Rose, 53, got off in Kalihi close to the intersection of Kamehameha Highway and Middle Street. She was going to walk about 1.5 miles to work at the Department of Agriculture branch near Sand Island, but her morning exercise routine was cut short.

"I told her to be careful. We got a little pen light that she'd hook on her top and put it on when she was walking," said Rose.

Police said Ogata-Rose was in a marked crosswalk and had the walk signal when a pickup truck slammed into her. She died at the hospital five days before her 54th birthday.

"We had planned at some point to go back to the mainland and travel. I'm gonna miss that a lot," Rose said.

"I still feel like she is going to return. It happened suddenly so the sadness hasn't sunk in yet," said the victim's mother, Tokuko Ogata.

Ogata-Rose was the 5th pedestrian killed on Oahu's roadways this year. 12 of the 19 who died last year were in a marked crosswalk. 7 of the 11 in 2009 and 10 of the 14 in 2008 were also walking in a crosswalk.

"People shouldn't be dying this way. Our streets should be safer," said Dan Meisenzahl, spokesman for the state Department of Transportation.

The state hopes to finalize its Pedestrian Master Plan in July. The two-year project pinpoints problem areas and identifies ways to make streets safer during future development.

"We're in the middle of a renovation along Nimitz and Ala Moana right now, and so you're going to see a lot of those improvements along that road. They will all be countdown timers. They will all be these wide crosswalks. There will be signage," explained Meisenzahl.

But safety improvements won't solve everything.

"We need the pedestrians and we need the drivers to just be aware of each other and look out for each other, and make sure these terrible tragedies don't happen again," said Meisenzahl.