One dead, two injured in crash near Makapuu

One dead, two injured in crash near Makapuu
Published: Jun. 2, 2013 at 4:41 PM HST|Updated: Jun. 3, 2013 at 11:54 AM HST
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EAST HONOLULU, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - One person was killed and two others critically injured when a moped collided with a motorcycle near the Makapuu lighthouse Sunday.

Honolulu Police said the collision happened at about noon. Officers closed Kalanianaole Highway between Sandy Beach and Waimanalo while they investigated. The highway was reopened at about 3:30 p.m.

"The moped, which was a rented moped from a tourist, was riding down (Kalanianaole) Highway, which here right here near Alan Davis (beach), headed toward Hawaii Kai, when he crossed over the center line and collided head-on into a motorcycle," said Lt. Robert Towne of HPD's traffic division.

The moped rider, a 36-year-old male tourist, was pronounced dead at the scene.

The motorcycle was a Harley-Davidson, said police. The motorcycle driver was believed to be a military serviceman stationed on Oahu, while his passenger was identified as a woman in her 40s who was visiting the islands. Both were taken to the hospital in critical condition.

Towne said it was possible the moped operator may have been distracted. "I think just being maybe unfamiliar with the area and the speed for the moped is what caused him to cross over."

Investigators also found one helmet at the scene, but did not determine who, if anyone, was wearing it. They also said speed may have been a factor. "Speed in the sense that it's faster than what the moped can handle, but not necessarily over the posted speed limit," said Towne. "I don't believe alcohol is a factor at this point, but we'll look into that."

A visiting couple from New Zealand were among the first on the scene and provided police with information, but did not talk to reporters.

Police said the crash highlights the risks when visitors to the islands ride a moped. "I think they take for granted it's an easy vehicle to ride, but if they haven't ridden one back at home it can be very tricky," said Towne.

The moped rider's death is Oahu's 31st traffic fatality of the year.

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