Victim of deadly Haleiwa car crash identified as former teacher - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Victim of deadly Haleiwa car crash identified as former teacher

Joseph Matuga Joseph Matuga
Matuga was driving this 2004 Volkswagen. Matuga was driving this 2004 Volkswagen.
Fred Souza Fred Souza
Elias Ali Elias Ali
HALEIWA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

The 61-year-old man killed in a horrendous multi-car crash in Haleiwa on Thursday has been identified as a Waialua resident and former schoolteacher who had been found guilty of driving under the influence earlier this year.

Police have not determined if alcohol was a factor in the crash that killed Joseph Matuga, who taught at Aliamanu Middle School and Radford High School, when the 2004 Volkswagen he was driving crossed the center line on Kamehameha Highway and collided with oncoming traffic.

According to neighbors, Matuga kept to himself. However, they also said it was well-known in the neighborhood that he drank a lot.

"He never bother me," said neighbor Fred Souza. "He was alright, although he drinks like hell. But other than that, he had nothing bad to say about people."

Souza also said he wasn't surprised to learn that Matuga was involved in the deadly crash. "I had a gut feeling that was him. I just had that feeling because I saw he wasn't home, then I saw the cops over here, and then I said oh no, Joe must have gotten into it again."

Court records show that Matuga was arrested for driving under the influence in 2009, and was found guilty this past July. He was ordered to pay a $400 fine and a $30 criminal injury compensation fee. The sentence was suspended while Matuga was also ordered to undergo a substance abuse treatment and rehabilitation program.

Matuga taught social studies for a year at Radford High School. "He was an employee at our school and he came to work just like everybody else and did his job," said principal Elias Ali, who added that he didn't know Matuga personally. However: "He was very interested about music, and I think he did the drums or some instrument that he like to play, so that much I knew about him."

Meanwhile, authorities have not positively identified Matuga as the driver of the vehicle. That official determination will be made next week by the city medical examiner.

Previous story: Highway reopened after one dead, four injured in multi-car crash near Haleiwa


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