HPD officer critically injured in Harano tunnel Sunday night has been identified

The incident happened just before midnight in the Harano Tunnel.
Published: Feb. 20, 2023 at 7:13 AM HST|Updated: Feb. 23, 2023 at 5:44 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A Honolulu police officer was critically injured after he was struck by a vehicle while conducting traffic control on the H-3 Freeway late Sunday, authorities said.

Loved ones have identified him as 46-year-old Felix Gasmen and have set up a GoFundMe account for the veteran with 15 years with the department.

The GoFundMe’s message reads:

Windward Honolulu Police Officer, husband, and father of four was critically injured in an on duty accident while preforming traffic control. Our blue family has organized this fundraiser in hopes to provide additional means of support as one of our Officers recovers from his injuries.

On Tuesday, Honolulu Police Chief Joe Logan provided some good news, saying the officer was still in the hospital but condition has improved from critical to serious.

“The officer remains hospitalized with extensive injuries, and the investigation is ongoing,” Logan said. “His path to recovery will be a long one, and we continue to support both the officers and their families during this difficult time.”

[RELATED: Honolulu police chief pleads with drivers to slow down after ‘rough week’ on Oahu’s roads]

HPD also released more information about the investigation.

According to HPD, a 25-year-old man was driving Kaneohe bound just before midnight Sunday when he swerved to avoid a vehicle that had stopped in the roadway.

Honolulu Police Chief Joe Logan said it is unclear at this time which one of those cars hit Officer Gasman, who was helping with traffic.

The officer was pinned between two vehicles and was transported to the hospital in critical condition.

“This is serious work. I mean, it’s dangerous,” said Former HPD Deputy Police Chief John McCarthy. “I mean, you’re relying on every driver to be observant, careful, and doing the right thing, but that doesn’t always happen.”

McCarthy said most of the injuries have happened at night because of certain factors, including darkness, headlights and weather conditions.

Officials said the driver remained at the scene and was not injured.

As the investigation continues into the cause of the crash, Chief Logan confirmed to us that body camera video is also being reviewed.

It’s not the first time an officer has been injured performing traffic duties. Over the past three decades, there have been at least two fatalities.

A spate of recent hit-and-run crashes have some asking: What’s happening on Oahu roads?

In 1991, Officer Randal Young was on a traffic stop with a vehicle on Pali Highway when he was struck by a drunk driver that then fled the scene. Officer Young died from the injuries he received from the collision.

In 2011, Officer Eric Fontes was struck and killed by an automobile while conducting a traffic stop with other officers on Farrington Highway.

“You always go to work thinking you’re going to come home in one piece, but there’s always that factor that unknown that comes into play and you hope it never happens,” said McCarthy.

This is the second time in the last seven days where an officer has been critically injured in the line of duty.

In a statement the State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers union said the recent incidents involving officers represent a “grim reminder that the danger in police work comes in many forms.”

”Last week, it was a hammer-wielding suspect who bludgeoned our officer over the head to avoid arrest,” said Robert Cavaco, president of SHOPO. “Today, it’s a vehicle collision that severely injured our officer who was working a separate traffic collision scene.”

“Our officers knowingly risk their bodies and lives every day to keep our community safe, and that’s something we should never forget,” Cavaco added.

The crash prompted a complete shutdown of the H-3 Freeway in both directions during the overnight hours, but it has since reopened.

At this time, speed, drugs, or alcohol do not appear to be contributing factors in this crash.

An investigation is ongoing.