WAIKIKI (HawaiiNewsNow) - The man who died after being run over by a city bus Saturday in Waikiki was a homeless veteran suffering from terminal cancer whose wheelchair was recently stolen, people who knew him told Hawaii News Now Thursday.
A pair of red shoes and a blue baseball cap worn by Kenneth Martyn, 71, remained at the scene in Waikiki Saturday after he was run over by a city bus along Ala Moana Boulevard and later died.
Homeless people and others who knew him said for most of the last three years he lived at a city bus stop in front of Discovery Bay condominiums, just up the road from where he died.
"He basically lived on the sidewalk, on a towel for many years,” said a man who works in the visitor industry in Waikiki and spoke to him nearly every day. “Yeah, he never bothered nobody, good old Kenny. It's sad what happened to him."
The man told Hawaii News Now says Martyn was despondent because he was suffering from terminal cancer, and someone had stolen his electric wheelchair several weeks ago.
"He wasn't feeling good and his wheelchair got stolen a few weeks ago and that was his downfall, he just told me he didn't want to live any more, he was feeling very, very ill," the man who knew him said.
Martyn told people he had served in the military, but Hawaii News Now was not able to verify that claim.
The initial police investigation said Martyn was trying to get onto the bus from a back door.
"The bus driver may not have known the male was trying to enter the bus from one of the rear doors," said HPD Traffic Division Lt. Robert Towne on Saturday, shortly after the accident.
But sources close to the investigation said city bus surveillance video does not show Martyn trying to board the bus and instead shows him appearing to stumble toward it.
Another source said the bus video is "inconclusive."
Friends said Martyn never took the bus and he frequently fell because of his frail medical condition.
"So he had a hard time getting around. So when he would walk, he would step maybe five steps, take a break. He would fall down a lot," said a man who had befriended Martyn. “Cause I know he don't ride the bus. He never gets on the bus."
The Honolulu Medical Examiner’s office said Thursday it concluded his death was accidental, caused by “blunt force trauma to the lower extremities.”
Martyn used to live in the low-rise Tradewind apartments around the block from where he died until several years ago when he became homeless, according to people who knew him.
A relative told Hawaii News Now Martyn was an alcoholic whose adult son and daughter living in California wanted nothing to do with him.
“They’ve been through so much with that man,” said a relative in California. “His children don’t want to deal with this anymore.”
That version of events dovetails with what he told a friend in Waikiki:
"He told me he went back to California to get help from family and they just shunned him and they don't want nothing to do with him, so he came back to Hawaii."
Employees at Discovery Bay condo said Martyn had worked there more than a decade ago as a maintenance worker assigned to the swimming pool.
Major Kurt Kendro of HPD’s Traffic Division said the police department is still investigating the incident and can’t comment on pending investigations. He said anyone who witnessed the incident is asked to call his division to speak to investigators.
A spokeswoman for The Bus said it too could not comment on a pending investigation.
As is routine in cases where a pedestrian is killed by a motorist, the bus driver is the focus of a police negligent homicide investigation. One the police department delivers the evidence and case background to the city prosecutor’s office, lawyers there will determine whether to charge the driver with a crime.