AIEA (HawaiiNewsNow) - A Honolulu police officer was killed and two people seriously injured in a three-vehicle crash on the H-1 Freeway in Aiea. The collision happened just after 8 p.m. Saturday in the eastbound lanes near the Kaonohi Street overpass.
The Honolulu Police Department identified the officer as Garret Davis, 28.
According to witnesses, officer Davis, in a marked squad car came up to a stalled vehicle in the left-hand lane and pulled over to assist, but before he could get out of his vehicle he was hit from behind by another vehicle.
"The police car, doing a great job I guess, you know, pulls to the left to block the traffic, and then this 4X4 truck slams into them and launched into the air, flipped up and it landed and it ripped the tires off the 4X4," said Charles Owens, who lives in an apartment overlooking the crash scene.
Owens said motorists immediately stopped to try to help as the police car burst into flames. "People were trying to put the police car out, the fire was on the police car, and they were trying to put it out with water bottles, and then the police car just started exploding," he said.
"As the car started burning and exploding, nobody could do anything," continued Owens, a veteran who returned from service in Iraq last June. "And you heard the rounds start exploding from his vehicle, I guess from his weapon and his shotgun, and the ammo in his vehicle just started going off."
He said by that time, other officers had arrived and began evacuating the area.
Police Chief Louis Kealoha said the occupants of the stalled pickup truck, a 32-year-old man and a 42-year-old woman, were taken to the hospital in guarded condition. The driver of the pickup truck that hit Davis' patrol car, 41-year-old Scott Ebert, was treated for his injuries and released, and then arrested on a charge of negligent homicide, Kealoha said. Police later released Ebert pending further investigation.
Ebert declined to be interviewed on camera, but said, "I'm a man of faith and I pray for the officer's family."
He also said, "There was no alcohol involved, there was no drugs involved, nothing like that." However, when asked what happened, he declined comment.
The stalled pickup truck's driver, Daniel Cabel, and Ferly Laforteza, told Hawaii News Now that they were on their way to the airport to pick up a relative when they had a flat tire. Cabel and Laforteza, both 22, declined an on-camera interview, but said officer Davis was able to ask them if they were okay. He had returned to his car to call for a tow truck when the collision happened, they said.
Cabel and Laforteza also expressed their condolences to Davis' family in California. When reached by phone, a family member said that they were grieving, and declined comment at this time.
The suspect also declined to appear on-camera. However, he said he wasn't drinking or taking drugs before the crash, and declined further comment.
Hawaii News Now reporter Minna Sugimoto also contributed to this report.