Close-knit North Shore community mourns mother, young son killed in head-on crash

Close-knit North Shore community mourns a mother, young son killed in head-on crash

PUNALUU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - A 31-year-old woman and her young son were killed Tuesday night when police say she veered into the opposite lane on Oahu’s North Shore and hit a car head-on.

The crash happened around 9:10 p.m. on Kamehameha Highway between Hauula Homestead Road and Puhuli Street. Police said the driver and her son were pronounced dead at the scene.

The Honolulu Medical Examiner on Wednesday identified the two as Tiana Paakaula Wooten, of Hauula, and her 7-year-old son Zayden.

North Windward Baptist Church Pastor Lance Fairly said the two were members of his church, and their deaths have rocked a tight-knit North Shore community.

“Everybody here knows everybody out in the country,” he said, adding that he knows their whole family. He’d last seen Wooten and her son on Sunday.

“(We need to) realize how blessed we are to have one another at this time and how delicate life is,” he said. “We just saw little Zayden on Sunday at church and now he’s gone to be with the Lord.”

Zayden, who was a student at Hauula Elementary School, was one of her three children and the only one with her Tuesday night.

“He was known for his hugging. He was just a great hugger,” he said. “I can’t say anything negative about him. He was always so giving. The only thing I can think is the Lord wanted him home with him.”

Witnesses reported seeing the sedan overtaking other vehicles before the collision.

And surveillance video from a nearby home shows the car crossing the line just before impact. Neighbors and other witnesses rushed to help and call 911

The driver of the other vehicle involved in the crash were taken to a hospital in serious condition. Police said the driver of the other car is a 35-year-old man from Utah. His female passenger is in her 40s.

It’s still unknown whether drugs or alcohol were factors in the crash.

The highway was closed in both directions into the night as police investigated, but lanes have since been reopened.

This is the seventh and eighth traffic fatalities of 2020 compared to nine at the same time last year.

This story will be updated.

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