Teen defying odds after being paralyzed in crash blamed on HPD officers
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Waianae teen who was paralyzed from the neck down in a car crash blamed on Honolulu police officers has made remarkable progress.
Dayten Gouveia doesn’t remember anything about the Sept. 12 crash, but he does remember that he went to a party that day at Maili beach park.
Police were called to break it up and Gouveia caught a ride home with family friends.
The next thing he remembers is waking up in the hospital. Doctors told him he was paralyzed from the neck down. “I just thought my life was going be done,” the 15-year old said.
His mother, Ualani Waialae, said the doctor compared his injury to the one actor Christopher Reeve had. “I cannot even express the hurt I had for him. Knowing that he loves sports,” Waialae said.
“He is my baby.”
Gouveia had multiple surgeries on his neck and face.
Weeks after the crash, he surprised his mom when he moved his hand, to try to grab hers. Not long after that, he was able to move his feet.
“In the beginning was super hard,” Gouveia said.
Physical therapy pushed him and on Dec. 1, he was able to walk out of the rehabilitation hospital.
His older sister, Dennisey Gouveia, said his determination and positive attitude helped him improve so quickly. “He’s always the most happy in our family. He makes us happy,” she said.
The Gouveia family is suing the Honolulu Police Department and the city, saying three officers caused the crash and then left the scene without rendering aid.
Surveillance videos from nearby businesses show an unmarked, subsidized SUV right behind the car Gouveia and several others were in. Two marked patrol cars are seen on the videos seconds later.
None of the cars have their emergency lights activated.
HPD’s tracking data shows the officers were going about 100 mph during the chase, according to sources. Witnesses also said the three police cars continued on passing the crash site on Farrington Highway at Orange Street, leaving Gouveia and the 30-year old driver critically injured in a field.
Several other teens were seriously hurt, too.
All three HPD officers remain on restricted duty and an HPD spokesperson confirms the criminal and internal investigations continue.
Despite the accusations, Gouveia’s family said they are focusing on his treatment, and his mother said she forgives the officers accused.
“I have no anger against them for any of this. I hurt mostly for the officers’ families,” Waialae said.
Her son, meanwhile, has a new goal in his recovery: To run again in the next three to four months.
In one year, he wants to be back at the boxing gym, punching the bag.
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