'He was my baby': Family mourns 21-year-old killed in high-speed crash

(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)

MAKAHA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Police say speed and alcohol are factors in a fatal car crash at Keaau Beach Park early Thursday.

The Medical Examiner's Office has identified the man who died as 21-year-old Troy Kahooilihala Jr., of Waianae.

Family members say Kahooilihala graduated from Waianae High School in 2014 and was just a mile away from home.

"I just want my son to know we love him," said the victim's father, who shared his name with his oldest son. "I'll never stop thinking about him. He was my baby."

Kahooilihala was killed when he was ejected from a four-door Toyota sedan, which police believe was traveling at least 100 mph when it slammed into an unoccupied pickup truck parked alongside Farrington Highway just before 2:30 a.m.

The sedan went airborne and rolled several times before landing on the shoreline just feet from the water.

Friends say the 24-year-old driver, Pule Wilson, was close to Kahooilihala.

The 19-year-old front-seat passenger, Robert Delenia, was also a close friend.

Police say Wilson is suspected to have been intoxicated at the time of the crash. Both he and Delenia were wearing seat belts, which officials say saved their lives. They were pinned inside the mangled sedan and had to be extricated by first responders who rushed them in serious condition to the Queen's Medical Center, where they remain hospitalized.

Kahooilihala was not wearing a seatbelt. Police say he was thrown at least 10 feet from the sedan and was pronounced dead at the scene when Emergency Medical Services arrived.

Kahooilihala's father said he has always told his kids no matter where they are, no matter what time it is, to call home for a ride rather than getting into a car with someone who has been drinking.

He called his son his best friend.

"Kids now days, they need to learn how to call home. It doesn't matter what time, what hour, where they're at on the island -- always call home for their parents to come pick them up," Troy Kahooilihala said. "I've always stressed that to my kids -- from when they were small to now. All we can do is try to give them advice. But -- I'm not angry. I'm just hurt. I lost my best friend. He was everything to me."

Farrington Highway was shut down in both directions Thursday morning between Keaau and Waikomo beach parks during the investigation.

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