Elderly Man Dies in Pedestrian Accident

Eleanor De Ponte
Eleanor De Ponte
Barbara Kim Stanton
Barbara Kim Stanton

NUUANU (KHNL) -- An elderly pedestrian dies after being hit by a car.

It's the first traffic-related fatality of the new year.

It happened Wednesday evening when a 93-year-old man was hit at a marked crosswalk on Pali Highway.

It continues Hawaii's dubious distinction of being the most dangerous state for elderly pedestrians in the country.

The accident happened almost 24 hours ago.

The victim died early Thursday morning at the Queen's Medical Center.

Some hope increased driver and pedestrian saftey awareness comes out of this.

The Pali Highway: a popular throughfare for folks traveling to and from the windward side.

But it can be a dangerous situation for pedestrians trying to cross the busy highway.

"The drivers, all they're intent on is going from A to B," said 80-year-old Eleanor De Ponte.  "They're not focusing on pedestrians that go across the street.

93-year-old Chung Rak Ha was at this crosswalk near Dowsett Avenue, when a pick up truck heading northbound hit him.

He died early Thursday morning at the Queen's Medical Center.

The victim was walking Ewa bound when he was hit. Even though the crosswalk is marked, he didn't have the added protection of a traffic signal or other safety measures.

The AARP hopes enhanced traffic devices are installed here and in other in busy areas that don't have traffic signals.

"One of the things we've pressed for is to have a pedestrian activated signal, so that if a pedestrian is trying to cross the street, a light will come on to say there's a pedestrian is at the crosswalk, said AARP Director Barbara Kim Stanton.

The victim lived in this apartment building.

His children Jong Jin Ha and Young Hee Kuga only speak Korean. They say they are in shock, and are grieving privately.

The AARP says this tragedy illustrates more needs to be done.

"I think it just speaks to the fact that we have a lot further to go," Stanton said. "We have a lot more pedestrian education to do, and we certainly have a lot more improvements to be made."

Education and improvements to reduce the number of car versus pedestrian related accidents in our state.

Initial police reports indicate speed and alcohol do not seem to be factors.

But the road was wet when the accident happened.