Friends, family remember teen killed in Ewa Beach crash - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Friends, family remember teen killed in Ewa Beach crash

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Friends and loved ones of a teenage girl killed in a car crash just days before Thanksgiving gathered near a growing memorial at the crash site on Kaimalie Street in Ewa Beach on Wednesday, leaving tears and prayers to go along with flowers and candles as they mourned the life of a child gone too soon.

Kawehi Adkins-Kupukaa's grandfather wept as he knelt near the sidewalk memorial, holding a gray stuffed animal in both hands before placing it with others and wiping his eyes with tissue. The 14-year-old sophomore at Campbell High School died on Tuesday when a GMC Envoy being driven by a friend and classmate slammed into two other cars and a utility pole.

Still in shock, heartbroken members of Kawehi's family described how much of a joy she was to be around.

"Kawehi was always a good person, always helpful, always smiling, always laughing," said Kawehi's mother Janelle. "Just a joking, playful person."

"Always," added her aunt, Sharlene Kupukaa. "And everybody who knows Kawehi knows that of her."

Kawehi's 15-year-old boyfriend Johnoven Lagon was in the backseat of the car being driven by 16-year-old Brandon Harris. Lagon, a J.V. football player at Campbell, was released from the hospital Tuesday night with visible injuries.

He says he doesn't remember much of the crash.

"All I remember is hitting a car and waking up," said Lagon. "I just remember my whole body sore, fell out the car, blood everywhere. And first thing I thought was, was my girlfriend okay?"

At the crash site on Wednesday morning, Lagon sobbed uncontrollably as he laid roses and balloons on the sidewalk memorial.

"This is hard, not having her around anymore," cried Lagon.

Police say they suspect Harris, who had taken Johnoven and Kawehi off-campus to eat lunch, was speeding and under the influence of alcohol at the time of the crash.

Lagon, who talked candidly about Harris' condition at the time of the crash, admitted to being nervous about driving with his friend.

"I had like second thoughts about jumping into the car and stuff," said Lagon. "I didn't drink, if that's what you heard."

Was Kawehi drinking?

"No."

And Brandon?

"Yes."

Harris was hospitalized in critical condition after the crash, reportedly on life support with head and other internal injuries. Kawehi's family still has a lot of questions about the teen who was behind the wheel.

"I've never seen this boy," said Kawehi's mom Janelle. "I don't know who he is. Just don't know."

What they do know is just how special Kawehi was to so many of her friends and family members. Dozens are have paid their respects at the roadside memorial site, with thousands more writing messages online at a special Facebook page.

Lagon says Kawehi will always have a special place in his heart.

"Forever and ever in my heart. Right here," said Lagon, pointing to his chest. "You'll always be here. I love you."

Copyright 2012 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.

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