‘Completely senseless’: Kauai crash that killed woman in marked crosswalk spurs state action
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A Kauai family plans to take legal action following a crash that killed a pedestrian in a marked crosswalk.
They say it’s a senseless tragedy that could have been avoided.
Tanya Ruiz Hall, 50, was a private nurse. She moved from California to Kauai a decade ago to care for a boy with disabilities.
“I honestly think that she was a real-life angel,” said Hall’s daughter, Kaila.
“It’s so hard to do the things that we have to do without my mother’s help,” said Hall’s son, Josh.
The private nurse and her friend Krystal Lupe Ragland were in a marked crosswalk just after sundown Monday night when they were struck by a driver on Kuhio Highway near Kawaihau Road.
Ragland survived. Hall’s daughter said the two were on the way to eat at a Kapaa restaurant.
“This is a completely senseless death and it’s not something that should have happened or happen again, to say the least,” said Kaila Hall.
This comes nearly three years after a similar crash that occurred a mile and a half away.
Two women were struck in a crosswalk at Ala Road and Kuhio Highway. One of them died.
Attorney Teresa Tico is now suing the state on behalf of the woman’s husband.
She said there was no indication of speeding or impairment, but adds that police said the overhead light was not working at the time of the incident.
“The driver of the vehicle said he didn’t see them until his headlights were on them,” said Tico.
“And we also have a video from a retail store owner across the street that appears to show there was no lighting until the headlights were reflected on these women.”
Tico said after the crash, the state Department of Transportation installed rapid flashing beacon lights in the crosswalk.
“I mean, we really need to get these rapid flashing beacons installed in more crosswalk locations, especially in Kapaa,” said Tico.
Hall’s children are also calling for immediate changes on Kuhio Highway.
“It’s so dark and the roads are so small,” said Josh Hall.
“There’s no room for any error period and there’s no lights. I feel like they should all be properly lit maybe a speed bump ahead of them,” said Kaila Hall. “This should be a non-issue.”
Hawaii News Now also reached out to the Kauai Island Utility Cooperative, but officials declined to comment.
DOT said prior to the Sept. 19 crash, there were no traffic fatalities on Kuhio Highway within 500 feet of the crosswalk at the Kuhio Highway extension in either direction.
They are currently implementing a statewide initiative of raised crosswalks or speed bumps.
In addition, the initiative prioritizes crosswalks that connect to schools and those with prior crash history.
They said the crosswalk in which Hall was killed in was scheduled for safety improvements next year.
“However, due to this recent crash, we will be upgrading the crosswalk with appropriate measures once we receive information on all the factors contributing to the crash,” the state said.
Hall’s kids believe the crosswalk should have been a priority sooner.
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