Driver of truck that plowed into pedestrians, killing 3, faces charges

Mourners left flowers and lei at the site of a crash in Kakaako that left three people dead....
Mourners left flowers and lei at the site of a crash in Kakaako that left three people dead. (Image: Hawaii News Now)
Updated: Jan. 30, 2019 at 10:23 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The 27-year-old driver of the pickup truck that plowed through a group of pedestrians in Kakaako on Monday night, leaving three dead, remains in the hospital on Wednesday, but he faces multiple manslaughter charges when he is released.

The driver of a pickup truck that plowed through a group of pedestrians and then hit another...
The driver of a pickup truck that plowed through a group of pedestrians and then hit another truck is believed to have been under the influence of alcohol. (Image: Hawaii News Now)

On Tuesday, police continued to try to piece together the moments before the grisly crash, even briefly closing down westbound lanes of Ala Moana Boulevard as investigators returned to the scene.

Alins Sumang, the 27-year-old driver accused of hitting the pedestrians in a traffic island, is believed to have been speeding and was likely under the influence of alcohol when he struck the pedestrians.

And Hawaii News Now has learned that first responders found a bottle of vodka in his pickup truck.

He was also apparently trying to evade police, after allegedly hitting several parked cars nearby.

Police Chief Susan Ballard said Tuesday said that the department is continuing to review officer statements and closed circuit footage to determine the sequence of events that led up to the crash.

“We’re going to be doing an administrative investigation and a review to make sure that all policies and procedures were followed,” Ballard said.

She said that an officer was following Sumang, but lost him after the suspect turned onto Ala Moana Boulevard “at a high rate of speed” and was weaving in and out of traffic.

“The officer was unable to keep up with the truck in the moving traffic,” she said.

The chief said multiple officers then responded to help locate the truck and that’s when the driver plowed into the crowd of pedestrians and then hit another vehicle stopped at a stoplight.

At the crash site Tuesday, mourners left flowers and lei on traffic cones placed there.

Two of the pedestrians killed in crash have been identified. They are 26-year-old Casimir G. Pokorny, of Oreland, Penn., and 39-year-old William T. Lau, of Honolulu.

Lau’s family said the anesthesiologist was out for a run when he was hit.

[Read more: They were walking to the beach to watch the sunset. They never made it]

[Read more: ‘Never coming home’: Families mourn pedestrians killed in horrific crash]

The third victim is a 47-year-old woman from Japan.

Meanwhile, four of the five people injured in the crash remain hospitalized.

Sources identified the suspected driver as Alins Sumang, 27. He was hospitalized in serious...
Sources identified the suspected driver as Alins Sumang, 27. He was hospitalized in serious condition.(Police Mug Shot (custom credit))

Ballard said the scope of the tragedy is hard to wrap your head around.

“Everybody is shaken up,” she said, at a news conference Tuesday. “It is senseless, just totally senseless. It’s just horrible.”

Police said the crash happened about 6:20 p.m. Monday, when a Ford F-150 truck — speeding and being driven recklessly — suddenly veered from the far left lane over to the right, driving over a concrete traffic island at the intersection of Ala Moana Boulevard and Kamakee Street.

That’s when it struck six pedestrians and a traffic signal pole.

The truck continued in the westbound direction, where it finally crashed into another Ford F-150 stopped at a light and waiting to make a right turn on Ala Moana Boulevard.

Witnesses described a horrific scene in the moments after the crash, with bodies scattered across the road and first responders and bystanders rushing to the aid of those who were hit.

City traffic cameras captured images of emergency personnel quickly beginning CPR on those lying in the roadway.

“It slammed those people,” said witness Fredly Sampson. “Few of them, they fly to other sidewalk. Just a really bad scene. All those people, they couldn’t even move.”

Witness Jonathan Boulware said the crash “sounded like a dumpster being dropped off a tall building."

“It was a bad scene. Very, very bad scene.”

HPD Press Conference

#LIVE: Police discuss the latest on the investigation into a grisly crash Monday night that left 3 dead. MORE: #HINews #HNN

Posted by Hawaii News Now on Tuesday, January 29, 2019

He added that he crosses the street where the crash happened every day with his 4-year-old and always warns him to be careful. “There’s a million people here," he said. “We’ve got to be safe and very careful near the roads."

The three killed in the crash were pronounced dead at the scene.

The three other pedestrians that were injured range in age from their 20s to their 40s, and were in good, serious and critical condition.

The driver of the other truck that was hit in the crash was also transported to the hospital in critical condition.

The crash — which brought the number of traffic fatalities on the island so far in 2019 to eight — was the deadliest on Oahu in years, and shattered the calm of what was otherwise a quiet evening in Kakaako.

Authorities say the earlier hit-and-run that prompted a police response happened about 10 minutes before the pedestrian crash.

Witness Guy Ogata spotted the suspected driver being followed by police moments before the triple-fatal accident.

“Driving down Pensacola, I noticed a Ford truck turn in front of us. Didn’t look like he stopped at any stop signs," Ogata said. “Shortly after, there was a police that was following him. No sirens on — I didn’t think he was trying to pull him over.”

This story will be updated.

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