In wake of hit-and-run that killed teen, top officials join victim’s family in call for change

They're calling for change to prevent more deaths.
Published: Feb. 19, 2023 at 8:19 PM HST|Updated: Feb. 19, 2023 at 8:20 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - There’s a growing call for action following a hit-and-run that took the life of McKinley High School junior Sara Yara.

Mitchel Miyashiro, 45, allegedly struck the 16-year-old on Kapiolani Boulevard on Wednesday morning then took off. He has been released pending further investigation.

On Sunday, top state officials joined the Yara family in sign waving, urging drivers and the city to improve safety in the area.

“I want to see the safety of our children,” said the teen’s mother, Chevy Yara.

“I want to see cars to slow down. Be mindful that they are in a school district.”

Suspect in hit-and-run that killed teen had 164 traffic violations dating back 3 decades, records show

The family was joined by HPD, the Hawaii Department of Transportation, Lt. Gov. Sylvia Luke, and area’s state senator.

While the investigation continues into her daughter’s death, Yara is getting support from people like Karen Cheung with Ward Village Moms. She helped organize the rally.

“We knew it was coming. It’s not a surprise because there’s a lot of hidden danger,” said Cheung.

“It was never resolved so now it’s even more urgent. I said before one death is too many. We’ve been fighting and talking about this for the past two years. Better pedestrian safety in the community.”

The Yara ‘ohana is also getting support from DOT Director Ed Sniffen, who brought his family to the rally.

Sniffen has been spearheading efforts to install raised pedestrian sidewalks in the state.

Kapiolani Boulevard falls under the city’s jurisdiction.

The city told Hawaii News Now they are exploring options to make the area safer for pedestrians.

Sniffen says if the city asks, he thinks he could have raised pedestrian crosswalks installed by April.

Luke also said the time for action is now.

“I’m a parent of a 20-year-old and I know what it means if I were to lose my child so we wanted to be here to show our support but share in the grief, share in the sympathy,” said Luke.