Likelike driver legally drunk, police step up enforcement

Frances Bunt
Frances Bunt
Three people were killed in this crash on the Likelike Highway Thursday morning
Three people were killed in this crash on the Likelike Highway Thursday morning

By Minna Sugimoto - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) - KHNL News 8 has learned the driver in Thursday's high-speed car crash on Likelike Highway, which left him and two others dead, was legally drunk. The Medical Examiner's office confirms his blood alcohol level was nearly triple the legal limit.

Police are now stepping up speeding and DUI enforcement on Oahu's roadways. KHNL News 8 was there as officers on motorcycles tried to get drivers on Pali Highway to slow down Friday.

A solo bike officer raises his laser gun and takes aim, as cars whiz by in a 35 mile-per-hour zone on Pali Highway. Soon, he jumps on his motorcycle and chases down Frances Bunt.

This encounter with police brings the 25-year-old driver to tears.

"You have never gotten a ticket before?" this reporter asked.

"I have never gotten a ticket before," Bunt said through tears.

The stepped-up enforcement effort comes after a triple fatality on Likelike Highway Thursday. Investigators estimate a silver Audi was going about 100 miles an hour before it went airborne and crashed.

"I can completely understand why they're cracking down," Bunt said. "But it's such a weird place 'cause you are coming down hill. I don't know. I'm just very upset."

The medical examiner confirms the driver of the crashed car, identified by family and friends as James Krzywonski, 30, had a blood alcohol content of .225 -- nearly three times the legal limit.

Eerily, the car Bunt is driving is also a silver Audi.

"It wasn't like I was this crazy driver," she said.

"How fast did he say you were going?" this reporter asked.

"Fifty in a 35," Bunt said while reading her ticket.

HPD says last month, its officers issued more than 5,400 speeding citations, compared to 4,339 in January 2008.

"We've done more enforcement than we have in the past," Deputy Chief Paul Putzulu, Honolulu Police Department, said. "And for whatever reason this year, that doesn't seem to be working."

But some drivers are getting the message.

"It's a costly ticket, isn't it?" this reporter asked.

"Yeah, it's $131," Bunt said through tears.

Since January 1st, 17 people have died in 15 crashes on Oahu. Police say speed was a contributing factor in 60% of those fatal crashes.