HPD seeks witnesses to fatal freeway crash, dead motorcyclists identified

Lt. Robert Towne
Lt. Robert Towne
Sgt. Kim Buffett
Sgt. Kim Buffett
Maribel Mangalao
Maribel Mangalao

By Minna Sugimoto - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Honolulu police have questioned a vehicle driver who may have been involved in a traffic fatality on the H1 Freeway near the Hickam off-ramp Sunday. Investigators, however, say they need additional witnesses to come forward.

Three men died in three separate crashes involving motorcycles on Oahu Sunday. The incidents happened within a four-and-a-half hour period.

A man and a woman were on the right shoulder of the H1 Freeway changing a flat tire on a Mercedes, when an out-of-control motorcycle plowed into them. Police are seeking additional witness statements.

"Anything that can help us piece together how this incident occurred," Sgt. Kim Buffett, Crimestoppers, said.

The man who was hit -- tentatively identified as a 61-year-old from Kailua -- was killed. The woman and the motorcyclist, who was wearing a helmet, remain at the Queen's Medical Center.

Investigators are looking into reports that a silver vehicle started the crash by rear-ending the bike, and then fled the scene. A possible suspect later arrived at the Pearl City police station for questioning.

"I believe that Traffic (Division) is talking to that person, but we still are looking for any witnesses that may have seen anything," Buffett said.

Two-and-a-half hours after the freeway crash, a speeding motorcycle smashed into a fire hydrant along Waikupanaha Street in Waimanalo. The rider, Benedict Tabar, 48, of Pukalani, Maui, died.

Investigators say Tabar was not wearing a helmet.

Two hours after that, a speeding motorcycle slammed head-on into a rock wall along Nuuanu Pali Drive. The rider, identified by his neighbors as David Harworth, 67, also was not wearing a helmet and died.

Longtime neighbor Maribel Mangalao says she saw Harworth leaving his house about an hour before the crash. She says it was unusual for him to ride without his safety gear.

"His helmet, his jacket," she said. "But he just had his aloha shirt yesterday and just his bag and that was it, so we're like, wow, that was kind of weird."

She says "Uncle Dave" -- as she called him -- enjoyed working on his backyard, loved animals and was a retired Pearl Harbor engineer. She says he injured his spine in another motorcycle incident and had surgery on it about two months ago.

"I know at this point he was still recuperating from it, so yeah," Mangalao said. "But I'm still kind of shaken because, you know, given that we had just seen him yesterday."

Police say of the nine motorcyclists who have died on Oahu's roads so far this year, two had a helmet on.

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