Push for 'move over' legislation after death of HPD officer

Tenari Maafala of SHOPO
Tenari Maafala of SHOPO

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - As the memorial for fallen Honolulu Police Officer Garret Davis grows, so does the push for legislation designed to improve safety for police and other emergency responders on Hawaii's roadways.

"We're getting in and out of our cars to write citations, take care of crime scenes, traffic accidents, and there's cars speeding past us at or above the speed limit," said HPD Officer Wade Nakagawa.

Officer Davis was killed in a fiery crash on the H-1 freeway in Aiea Saturday night. The 28-year-old had pulled over to assist a motorist who had a flat tire.

"He's a hero twice over. Just doing what we do as police officers, we're heroes in many people's eyes for what we do. But again, in Officer Davis' case, twice over. Without what he had done, putting himself in harm's way, god knows what would have happened to those two occupants of that stalled vehicle," said Tenari Maafala of SHOPO.

Davis' family in California sent Hawaii News Now some new photos. One was taken at his HPD graduation; another shortly after his daughter was born.

Mackenzie rose is now three years old and was the apple of her father's eye.

"I don't know why he didn't see my brother, and why he hit my brother, but whatever it is I hope that he makes it his life's work to make sure that no one else makes that same mistake," said Davis' sister Amanda Stevens in a phone interview.

The so-called 'move over' bill would require drivers to move over and change lanes when they see flashing lights to give safe clearance to police cars, fire trucks, ambulances and other emergency vehicles.

"One would ask why do we need such a law. It would seem that common sense would dictate to motorists that they should give room, pull over, vacate, give a buffer zone for that first responder. But we've seen time and time again where this has not occurred," says HPD Maj. Kurt Kendro.

But it's still under investigation whether the driver of the truck that slammed into Davis' patrol car saw the vehicles pulled over.

The death of Officer Eric Fontes during a traffic stop last September was believed to have been the result of the approaching driver falling asleep at the wheel.

"That's true, but something needs to be done. We die more through traffic incidents than anything else," said Wade.

There are five versions of the 'move over' proposal currently before the state legislature.

Investigators are asking for anyone who saw what happened Saturday on the freeway just prior to the deadly crash to call police at 529-3499.

Related Headlines:

Fallen officer remembered, praised by chief

HPD officer killed in the line of duty 'loved this job with a passion'

HPD identifies officer killed in Aiea crash

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