Families of 3 New Year's Day crash victims mourn - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Families of 3 New Year's Day crash victims mourn

By Minna Sugimoto - bio | email

OAHU (KHNL) - The families and friends of three people who died in separate crashes on Oahu on the first day of 2009 are mourning their losses.

Investigators believe speed was a factor in all three cases.

Relatives of a motorcyclist killed in a crash in Kunia Thursday night say they feel for the other families as well. They say it's the worst way to start a new year.

Devastated family members create a makeshift memorial at the site of Oahu's second deadly crash of 2009.

"He's a good guy, a good father and a good husband to his wife," Christine Mata, crash victim's cousin, said through tears. "It's just that too, life is too short."

Michael Galutira, 29, a husband and father of Ashten, 2, lost control of his motorcycle on a bend on Kupuna Loop and slammed into a parked truck. Rescuers worked to free the victim, who was wedged beneath the pick-up.

"He was going to come and visit me, you know, on New Year's and then I wasn't home," Randy Guevarra, crash victim's cousin, said. "I guess he drove by on the bike, realized I wasn't home and then he was on his way out."

Family members say Galutira was a civilian worker at Pearl Harbor. He died at the scene.

"My mom was screaming hysterically," Mata said through tears. "I guess she was on the phone with his mom, and that's how I, that's how I found out."

About three hours later, Oahu recorded its third traffic fatality of the day. Wayne Medeiros, Jr., 36, died after his motorcycle slammed into a large rock and a guardrail on a bend on Waipahu Street.

"We've seen many crashes," Kelly Montero, who lives next to the crash site, said. "The turn here is very tight, you know. So we wished people would slow down."

Police say they tried to pull Medeiros over for speeding, but he stopped briefly and then took off. They say an officer was checking the area when he discovered the motorcycle had crashed.

The woman who died in a violent crash on Likelike Highway four hours into 2009 has been identified. Patricia Kekoolani-Tully, 47, was a passenger in a car that veered off the roadway, ran up a rock wall and flipped several times.

Police say her son, Teariki Kekoolani-Tully, 23, was behind the wheel and was likely speeding, when he lost control of the car near Kamehameha IV Road. He went to the Queen's Medical Center in serious condition.

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