Critically injured triathlete inspires law banning drifting

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

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Triathlete Lectie Altman still can't remember the moment a speeding car slammed into her bicycle on Tantalus Drive in January, shattering bones in her arms and legs.

"My knee was basically just a mess," she said.

She's undergone several surgeries.

"I had a compound fracture in my left arm. I have two plates in my left arm. I have a plate in my thumb and fractured fingers in my right hand, and a plate in my left hip because I broke part of my pelvis," she said.

Police said the driver, Taylor Liang, was racing another car up Tantalus Drive and drifting when he hit Altman. He was arrested on suspicion of negligent injury and released.  So far no charges have been filed as police continue to investigate.

In the past, police could only cite the drifters for reckless driving, a misdemeanor punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.

A new law toughens the penalties.

"It's going to impose a fine of $2,000 and one year in jail and maybe both. And in some ways I feel maybe that's not enough," Mayor Kirk Caldwell said,

He signed Bill 7 Wednesday.

"With the stiff penalties along with our enforcement efforts we hope to eliminate drifting from our roadways, and prevent what happened to Ms. Altman from occurring to anybody else," said Maj.  Ryan Nishibun, commander of HPD's Traffic Division.

Tantalus has long been a hot spot spot for drifting. City councilwoman Carol Fukunaga introduced the bill three days after Altman's accident.

"For the residents I think they would like to see immediate action taken, not only in enforcing this new law but also in improving pavement and the roadway so that accidents are never happening again," she said.

Altman feels getting tough on drifting is a step in the right direction. Her recovery is progressing in baby steps..

"I have other goals but in order to get to them I need to able to walk, so that would be my number one goal," she said.

Copyright 2018 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.