Kaneohe pedestrian crash renews concerns over crosswalk safety - KFVE, K5-Hawaii News, Weather and Sports

Kaneohe pedestrian crash renews concerns over crosswalk safety

(Image: Hawaii News Now) (Image: Hawaii News Now)
KANEOHE, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Two Hawaii Pacific University students were injured after being struck by a van Sunday night in a crosswalk near the institution's Kaneohe campus.

One of the women, age 18, remains hospitalized with fractures to her face and pelvis. The other 18-year-old woman was released from the hospital on Monday.

Investigators say the driver of the van, a 61-year-old man, was distracted by the yellow flashing lights surrounding the crosswalk and drew his attention from the road where the women were walking.

Ironically, the lights are there to alert drivers of pedestrians crossing.

The speed limit on the four-lane stretch of Kamehameha Highway, fronting HPU's Hawaii Loa Campus, is 35 miles per hour.

Some students say they don't feel safe crossing, even with the flashing lights.

"There were a couple of times where I'd walk then someone drives by," said HPU student Shiloh Lewis. "I make sure to always look because some cars don't stop."

"I feel super unsafe actually," HPU student Magdalene Marsh said. "When I first got here, I was surprised that this is all they had in place because this is a highway obviously."

The state Department of Transportation installed the lights in 2011.

A month later in November, HPU student Mariah Danforth-Moore was killed in a hit-and-run accident at the same crosswalk.

The driver was eventually sentenced to 10 years in prison.

The victim's family, their attorney and HPU created a safety fund following that crash.

Roughly $60,000 was collected to pay for safety improvements at the crosswalk, but talks with the DOT were unsuccessful and all the money was returned.

"Nothing changed in spite of the efforts of the family, this law firm and at least some at HPU to try and address the problem," said Mike Cruise, attorney at Leavitt Yamane & Soldner. "People said it's just a matter of time before it happens again, so it's very sad to hear it has happened again."

So will more safety features be added this time around? The DOT says it won't consider it until the investigation is complete.

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