Wrong Way Driver Causes Double Fatal Collision

Crash site along the Moanalua Freeway where two women were killed in a head-on collision.
Crash site along the Moanalua Freeway where two women were killed in a head-on collision.

(KHNL) - Two women are dead after a head-on collision on the Moanalua Freeway early Wednesday morning. Authorities say one of the drivers, a pregnant woman, was traveling in the wrong direction.

With the smell of smoke still emanating from within, a Ford Explorer sits at a tow yard after a fiery crash. Nearby, the Nissan Sentra it slammed into is a twisted mess. Neither driver survived.

"We're asking for witnesses," Capt. Frank Fujii, Honolulu Police Department, said. "Anybody who witnessed the accident, or may have witnessed that green Explorer."

Investigators say the driver of the SUV, 20-year-old Renee Champ, took a wrong turn onto Moanalua Freeway.

Police say the Sentra was traveling in the correct direction on the freeway. The Explorer was going the wrong way. Both vehicles were occupying the same lane, the fast lane, when the head-on collision occurred.

"As they approached each other, both cars tried to swerve to avoid impact," Fujii said. "The car that was west-bound swerved to the left. The car that was east-bound swerved to the right, resulting in the collision."

The Medical Examiner's office deferred Champ's cause of death, pending further testing. But it did cite "acute alcohol intoxication" as a contributing cause. Also, she was pregnant.

The impact sent the driver of the Sentra into the back seat. 40-year-old Chikako Iwakiri of Kalihi died from multiple, blunt-force injuries.

"Because of the condition of the vehicles, we're not sure whether or not seat belts were used," Fujii said.

These are the 23rd and 24th traffic deaths on Oahu this year. There were 20 traffic fatalities at this time last year.