Makaha residents call for increased police patrols following crash that killed toddler

Maj. Ray Ancheta; Honolulu Police Department
Maj. Ray Ancheta; Honolulu Police Department
Analia Barboza
Analia Barboza

MAKAHA (HawaiiNewsNow) - About 50 people on Friday lined Farrington Highway in Makaha with signs urging people to drive responsibly. Their safety campaign took place near the site of Wednesday's hit-and-run crash that left a toddler dead.

Concerned Makaha residents held hands and formed a circle around the growing roadside memorial for three-year-old Ashton Brown. The group included Analia Barboza, who witnessed the aftermath of the crash that killed the little boy.

She remains haunted.

"It was the most graphic, horrible thing I've ever, you can't even imagine it," Barboza said through tears. "It was really, really bad."

Many are leaving stuffed animals for the toddler, who was sitting with his mother and siblings at a bus stop along Farrington Highway when a car plowed them.

Sign-wavers say their community is plagued with hazardous drivers and drug users, as well as homeless families who aren't getting the assistance they need. They're calling for more HPD enforcement to make the area safer.

Police in Leeward Oahu say right now, during any given shift, there are five to six officers patrolling Sector 1 which covers Maili to Kaena Point.

"This is our current allotment," Maj. Ray Ancheta, Honolulu Police Department, said. "We could use more, but there's a process to increase the number of beats. There's a process to increase the number of officers. Every year, through budget process, we try to do that."

Some, like Barboza, aren't so sure that increased enforcement or sign-waving will stop dangerous drivers.

"Everybody is going to forget about it and do the same thing again," Barboza said through tears. "That's what always happens out here. People don't learn. They never learn and this poor baby is going to die in vain because nobody cares."

On the night of the crash, police arrested the suspected driver, Potasi Uta, 43, several miles from the scene and seized his badly-damaged vehicle. The Honda was still registered to a Kailua man, who says he sold the car to Uta through Craigslist last Friday, five days before the incident.

The former owner's cousin says she's shocked by what happened.

"To the family, I'm so sorry for your loss," Nicole Cale, former vehicle owner's cousin, said. "I can't fathom what you're going through. Just know that everyone is praying for you."

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