Sunday, January 28, 2001
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Posted on: Sunday, January 28, 2001

Leap from truck bed kills Kane'ohe boy, 16

By Karen Blakeman
Advertiser Staff Writer

A 16-year-old Kamehameha junior died shortly before midnight Friday after he jumped from the back of a moving pickup truck.

The boy, Taulen Fujihara of Kaneohe, was a varsity football player and a member of the Warrior marching band, said Kamehameha Secondary School principal Tony Ramos.

Police said Fujihara was riding in a truck that was traveling along Kamehameha Highway near Hunalepo Street about 11:50 p.m. when his hat blew off. He yelled to the driver, also 16 years old, to stop so he could retrieve it.

Before the vehicle came to a complete stop, Fujihara jumped from the truck bed.

"I did so many crazy things like that when I was young and got away with it," said a police officer involved in the investigation.

Fujihara, who struck his head on the pavement, was pronounced dead at the scene. Authorities said he also sustained a leg injury.

Ramos was at the school yesterday, calling teachers to tell them what had happened, trying to prepare them to help comfort students tomorrow.

"It’s going to be difficult for his fellow students," Ramos said. "For all of us here."

Ramos said the head varsity football coach, Kanani Souza, heard of the accident late Friday night and called the football team together yesterday morning. The coach told the players of Fujihara’s death and, in an effort to help the teammates deal with their grief, gave them an opportunity to talk about their friend.

Ramos said he told the teachers to make ensure that other students would have similar opportunities this week.

"He was a nice young man," Ramos said of Fujihara. "This is a tragic thing."

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