On Maui, police and families of traffic victims beg public to drive safe

Loved ones of those killed in crashes on Maui's roadways are speaking out against the dangers of drunk driving.
Published: Nov. 25, 2021 at 1:09 AM HST|Updated: Nov. 25, 2021 at 10:19 AM HST
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KAHULUI (HawaiiNewsNow) - On Wednesday evening, 15 names were carefully placed on a table outside the Maui Police Department in Wailuku.

It represented the 15 lives that were lost in Maui County so far this year.

“It’s terrifying and it’s heartbreaking every single time I do it,” said MPD DUI Task Force Sgt. Nick Krau. “As I’m walking up that driveway to that house, I get nervous. I get really nervous. I get anxiety because you’re about to tell this family the most devastating news they could possibly ever hear.”

Dane Sadang knows that heartache far too well.

Her son, Kahiau Hill, was just 17 years old when he died in Waiehu six months ago.

“I want to tell him that … I love you … and I miss you,” Sadang said through tears.

There were six traffic fatalities this same time in 2020 — a 150% increase.

MPD’s Traffic Commander says 60% of those fatalities are related to alcohol, drugs, or speed.

“This is extremely difficult for these families,” said Lt. William Hankins. “If you can ever imagine losing someone, and then standing up in front of the community and talking about your pain.”

It’s the third year in a row that the Maui Police Department has held the Hannah Brown Memorial Rally in honor of Hannah Brown, 19, who lost her life to a drunk driver in 2019.

“Today was rough. Well, it’s always a rough day,” said Hannah’s mother Charlene. “But today is extra rough because we have to do something like this.”

After the news conference, the Browns, Sadangs, and other families of those killed in drunk driving crashes on Maui made their way to Kuihelani Highway where Hannah was killed.

MPD conducted a checkpoint, ran field sobriety tests for those who seemed intoxicated, and passed on pamphlets about the dangers of driving drunk.

“I do it so that her death doesn’t go in vain,” said Hannah’s father Everett. “I wonder if she is proud of me. I try to make her proud.”

Maui Police say they will continue to show a strong presence on the roads this holiday season. They say the other police departments around the state are doing the same with the ultimate goal of saving lives.

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