KAPOLEI (HawaiiNewsNow) - A Honolulu police officer is dead and another is in the hospital following a traffic collision during a traffic stop on Farrington Highway late Tuesday night.
According to officials, it happened at about 10:30 p.m. near the westbound Ko Olina off ramp when four HPD officers were attending to a dark-colored SUV that was stopped in the left lane against the median.
Officials say officer Eric Fontes was initially in critical condition, but passed away on the way to the hospital. Officer Herman Scanlan is currently in serious condition.
According to HPD Chief Louis Kealoha, the blue lights were flashing on the police vehicles as the officers were standing outside.
"Suddenly a 2003 Toyota Tacoma driven by a 20-year-old man veered left around four police vehicles off the highway and onto the grassy median where the officers were located," Kealoha said. "The truck hit the concrete divide and struck officer Fontes as the other officers were able to jump out of the way."
According to Kealoha, the truck that hit the subsidized police vehicle slammed into officer Scanlan and the vehicle of the traffic stop. The two adults and child in that vehicle were not injured.
Police arrested 20-year-old James Dorsey Mancao, of Waianae, at the scene. He was arrested on negligent homicide and negligent injury.
During an HPD press conference, Kealoha asked that the public drive carefully to prevent senseless tragedies like this from occurring in the future.
Sources say officer Fontes was originally from Molokai and graduated from the Police Academy in 2005.
Fontes also received an award for inspiration in his recruit class.
Fellow officers say Fontes was a great guy, cop, and a man of faith. They say he was family man and always made people laugh. He was also a positive person and encouraged the people he worked with.
Officer Fontes is the 42nd cop to die in the line of duty.
According to Roll of Honor on HPD's website, the last officer to die in the line of duty was Harry Coelho in 2007. He had a heart attack while breaking up a fight.
Before Coelho, officer Steve Favela died in a motorcycle crash while escorting President Bush's motorcade in 2006.