A Growing Memorial for Crash Victims - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

A Growing Memorial for Crash Victims

Michelle Benevedes Michelle Benevedes
Racquel Akau Racquel Akau

by: Beth Hillyer

WAIMANALO (KHNL) - A roadside memorial continues to grow for the two women killed in the crash.

Waimanalo is a close knit community and many are mourning the deaths of Michelle Benevedes and Racquel Akau who everyone called, "Rocky."

Driving along Kalanianaole Highway near Bellows Air Station, the scene of the fatal accident becomes a roadside memorial.

A Winnie-the-pooh balloon bobs in the wind. And a Hello Kitty stuffed animal is placed at the site. There are bouquets in memory of 39 year-old Michelle Benevedes and 38 year old Racquel Akau.

Throughout the day as word spread, people visited the crash scene that's now a growing memorial. The women were Kailua High school graduates. Some marvel how Michelle never seemed to age.

The victims were first cousins and just a year apart. They were both moms. Rocky had two children and Michelle leaves behind two sons and a daughter. The youngest just 8 years old. They spent their time in Waimanalo taking care of their kids and hanging out with friends. The same friends who stop by the makeshift memorial and drop off more bouquets. By nightfall the site is filled with gifts of aloha for the cousins who died together in the crash.

Members of the Benevedes ohana say they will remember Michelle as a fun loving girl with countless friends.

Of course their grief is mixed with the desire to learn more about what led up to the accident. They are searching for answers tonight and seek justice. They hope eye witnesses and the police investigation will shed more light on this accident caused by a teenage driver who police say was speeding and drinking.

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