After car drives through restaurant, some want improved safety m - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

After car drives through restaurant, some want improved safety measures

(Image: Hawaii News Now) (Image: Hawaii News Now)
HAWAII KAI, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

One day after a car smashed into an east Oahu restaurant injuring several people, there are calls for improved safety measures.

Police say a 72-year-old woman drove her Honda Accord straight through Paina Cafe at Koko Marina Shopping Center just after 4 p.m. Saturday.

Seven people were treated for scrapes, cuts and bruises and at least four vehicles parked in the lot were damaged.

The restaurant's owner didn't want to go on camera, but said he's grateful it wasn't anything worse.

The crash is bringing back scary memories for shoppers and area residents.

"When something like this happens, it just gets you thinking if you really want to go to this shopping center," said Hawaii Kai resident Kamran Milani. 

In 2014, a woman slammed her SUV into the Bank of Hawaii at the same shopping center.

No major injuries were reported, but a year earlier, two people were hurt when a 77-year-old woman plowed through the Hawaii Kai Post Office down the street.

Police said the driver was trying to reverse her vehicle, but had mistakenly left it in drive.   

And in 2012, an elderly man crashed his Mercedes through the side of Longs Drugs in Hawaii Kai. No one was injured.

We spoke with the woman behind the wheel in Saturday's Paina Cafe crash.

She declined an interview, but says she's sorry for what happened and is focusing on taking care of her mental health.

Meanwhile, police say the investigation is ongoing.

"Given the amount of information we know, we don't know whether it's the car or the driver, but something was wrong with one or the other," said Rep. Gene Ward whose district includes Hawaii Kai.

Ward is banding with retailers and residents calling for improved safety measures at Koko Marina Center.

"Hopefully something can come of this," said Ward. "Blocks and railings would be helpful."

"Railings would probably make the place look guarded too much, but potted plants I think that will beautify the place better," said Milani.

Koko Marina Center's director of marketing told Hawaii News Now its staff will meet on Monday to discuss options. 

Owners of Paina Cafe in Hawaii Kai say the restaurant will remained closed for at least a month.

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