MILILANI, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Honolulu police say a 44-year-old Waipahu man was rushed to Queens Medical Center in critical condition just after 5 a.m.
HPD Traffic Division Lt. Bobby Towne said the man was driving a small older model pickup truck headed northbound on the H-2 Freeway toward Wahiawa, when the driver of a white Toyota SUV, going the wrong way, slammed head on into the truck about a half of a mile south of the Mililani Mauka exit.
Police arrested the driver of the SUV, 37 year old Pedro Ortiz of Ewa Beach, for Operating a Vehicle Under the Influence of an Intoxicant (OVUII) and Negligent Injury in the 1st degree. Ortiz was taken to Wahiawa General for a mandatory blood draw to check for intoxicants before being booked at the Wahiawa police station.
The traffic investigation shut down the northbound lanes of the H-2 at the Ka Uka Boulevard exit for about an hour, until investigators could safely move drivers past the crash scene. All lanes were reopened around 8:30 a.m.
Witnesses reported seeing the SUV going the wrong way down the Mililani Mauka exit from Meheula Parkway.
Towne said he believes Ortiz took the Mililani Town exit off the H-2, because he hit a sign on the exit. Then when Ortiz got to the top of the intersection at Meheula Parkway, Towne said Ortiz hit a second sign, but continued across the intersection, past the 'DO NOT ENTER' signs and drove the wrong way down the Mililani Mauka exit ramp and then back onto the H-2 freeway headed southbound.
Towne said there's nothing wrong with the design of the intersection, but rather with the suspected drunk driver.
"We've never had a problem with a driver sober, driving the wrong way over here," said Towne. "Or even young and inexperienced drivers have never come down here going the wrong way."
He added that even road reflectors are made to alert drivers.
"The reflectors here have two sides," Towne said. "One side is white. One side is red. When you're driving the correct way, it'll guide you on the roadway and divide the roadway. When you drive the wrong way, it's red and lit all the way down the roadway. And you'll clearly know when you're driving down the wrong way."
At last report, the victim was in the Intensive Care Unit at Queens Medical Center.
Towne said this is the 20th critical traffic incident and the 78th Negligent Injury Case on Oahu roadways this year.