Friends identify victim in Waialua crash as stand-up paddling champion
WAIALUA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A single-vehicle accident claimed the life of a 25-year-old woman in Waialua Saturday night.
Friends identified the victim as Sophia Tiare Bartlow, a stand-up paddling champion who grew up in California and graduated from the University of Hawaii. They say she was dating the driver, 35-year-old Sage Candelaria.
Police said Candeleria, who was driving the white pick-up truck Kahuku-bound, was speeding on Waialua Beach Road. He lost control of the vehicle, crossed the center line and slammed into a mango tree at a home's yard.
It happened around 10:15 p.m.
Candelaria was hospitalized and later arrested on suspicion of first-degree negligent homicide and driving under the influence. He has since been released pending investigation
Joseph Calaustro was inside the house when he was startled by the loud noise.
"It was just a huge rumble and we all ran out," he said. "My dad, the neighbors, we all came running out."
Calaustro said it was raining and dark. All he heard were moans coming from the truck.
As he approached, he saw a woman pinned underneath.
"She was twisted and her leg was facing upwards a little and her back was facing downwards," Calaustro said.
Neighbors helped lift the truck to relieve pressure on the woman. Calaustro said the driver was hysterical.
"He was panicking that his girlfriend was stuck underneath," he said. "He was telling her 'Stay calm, you'll be alright.'"
Paramedics said Bartlow wasn't wearing a seat belt and was ejected from the truck.
She was taken to the hospital in extremely critical condition, where she died.
It was a long night for Calaustro who's now tasked with cleaning up.
He said this wasn't the first time an accident damaged his property and hopes the crash serves as a reminder to those who choose to get behind the wheel intoxicated.
"Blessings to the family and people," he said. "Please think about what you're doing when you're drinking and driving. Life is very short."
This is the third fatal accident on Oahu this year, compared to three at this time last year.
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