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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, March 19, 2003

Patrick Askew-Jackson Kaimana Askew-Jackson Jose Delizo Shannon Waiwaiole Rex Dicion

Five killed in high-speed car crash in Hale'iwa

By Will Hoover
Advertiser North Shore Writer

Moments after a car carrying her two boys whizzed around her on Kamehameha Highway early yesterday morning on the way back from a birthday celebration, Elizabeth Momi Askew saw a blizzard of swerving tail lights followed by a "huge cloud of smoke." It took several seconds for the horror to sink in.

Glenn Matas, left, and Mitchell George of Glenn's Towing in Waialua removed wreckage at the scene of a high-speed car crash at Kamehameha Highway and Kawailoa Drive that killed five people early yesterday.

Richard Ambo • The Honolulu Advertiser

Askew, 40, pulled to the side of the road at a distance and peered at the resulting carnage in the dark of night.

"I just saw my son hanging out the window," she said. "I refused to come closer to the car. I mean, I had two sons in there."

Both of those sons, Patrick Askew-Jackson, 21 and Kaimana Askew-Jackson, 13, as well as Askew's nephew, Jose Delizo, 17, and two family friends, Shannon Waiwaiole, 22 and Rex Dicion, 31, had been killed when their car slammed into a date palm tree on the mauka side of Kamehameha Highway near Kawailoa Drive.

It was the deadliest accident on O'ahu since five people were killed and three injured in a car crash on Kalaniana'ole Highway near Kuli'ou'ou on Nov. 10, 1995. O'ahu's traffic fatality count for the year climbed to 22 with yesterday's deaths.

Police said all five riding in the dark green 1998 Honda Civic EX were killed on impact at around 1:30 a.m., and that the car may have been traveling down the two-lane road at 100 mph when it plowed into the tree. They said they believe alcohol was involved and that none of the five were wearing seat belts.

"It was a mess," said Rick Wheeler, the Honolulu police desk sergeant at the Wahiawa sub station, which took the call. "The car was almost split in two."

Elizabeth Momi Askew catches her breath as she talks to reporters about the accident that killed her two sons, Kaimana and Patrick Askew-Jackson, and three others.

Richard Ambo • The Honolulu Advertiser

As she tried to piece together her recollections, Askew was unable to hold back the tears. It was the second family tragedy in less than a year.

"I lost my husband seven months ago to suicide," she said.

Askew, who has two other children, said family and friends had been celebrating Patrick's 21st birthday on the day for which he was named, St. Patrick's Day. They were returning to Waialua late that night after visiting Shark's Cove in Hale'iwa.

She said Waiwaiole was driving the Honda and the car was just behind her. Askew's daughter, Kristy, 12, was riding with her.

Suddenly, she said, a third vehicle zoomed past both cars. Instantly, she said, Waiwaiole pulled out from around her and took off after the other car, appearing to get into a road race.

"The third car overtook Shannon and Shannon wanted to overtake it back," she said. "I guess he got caught in an air pocket or something because there are no skid marks. They (the police) said the speedometer read 90 miles an hour. He may have even been going faster."

After Askew pulled over to the makai side of the highway, she flagged down a passing motorist who called police. Askew said she couldn't make the call herself because her cell phone had been in the Honda.

She said police and Honolulu fire rescue vehicles arrived about 20 minutes later. By then, though, she knew there were no survivors.

Police closed off Kamehameha Highway between Kawailoa Road and Joseph Leong Highway to traffic in both directions until 6:30 a.m., when one of two lanes was open. Both lanes were open about an hour later.

Yesterday, along with a parade of relatives, friends and acquaintances, Askew returned to the scene. Many who showed up placed flowers, photos and remembrances around the palm tree.

"Shannon was my nephew," said Holly Hookano, who placed a yellow rose and "Love you always" card on the tree. Waiwaiole and the front seat passenger, Delizo, were both thrown about 30 feet from the car, authorities said. Dicion and the Askew-Jackson brothers were pinned in the back seat.

The families of Delizo and Dicion occupy the upper and lower levels of the same house on Pa'ahihi St. in Waialua. Donna Delizo, mother of Jose Delizo, said she didn't learn about the accident until after after the sun came up yesterday.

"I was in town at a friend's house," she said. "And my sister called and said, 'I need to come and get you now.' She didn't tell me what had happened, but I had a feeling it was something bad."

By midday yesterday, the accident scene had been covered with sand, a lei and a red ginger plant, along with a note reading, "I'm gonna miss U, Shannon — thanks for the laughs."

Friends of Shannon Waiwaiole, driver in the North Shore accident that killed five people, hold hands in prayer at the scene.

Richard Ambo • The Honolulu Advertiser

A 10-foot brown paper sign along the fence of the Diamond C Ranch, adjacent to the point of impact, read, "In Loving Memory," and was signed by numerous friends of the young men. All those killed lived in the same Pa'alakai neighborhood in Waialua.

"This was a big eye-opener for people in Waialua and Hale'iwa," said James Stone, who was a close friend of Waiwaiole. "Something like this touches everyone up here. It's like a small family. Everyone from either community attended Waialua High."

Jose Delizo was an 11th grader at the school.

"He was happy and looking forward to graduating this year," Anoina said. "Right now, I'm just thinking, why my brother and cousins?"

Aloha Coleman, principal of Waialua High School, said four of the five victims had gone to her school. Besides Delizo, Kaimana Askew-Jackson was currently enrolled. Waiwaiole was a former Waialua High basketball and football player.

Kainalu Ortogero, 26, recalled happier times, when Waiwaiole would visit his family and help himself to food in their refrigerator, play Super Nintendo with Ortogero and other friends all night long, and watch the house for the family while they were away.

"That's how close we were," Ortogero said. "He was a brother. He was always there, and we were always there for him."

"It is a huge loss for the community," said Coleman, who said the school will be bringing in extra counselors to help students deal with that loss after they return from spring break on March 31. "Jose and Kaimana were both fun-loving individuals.

"You never expect this to happen to us. What more can you say. This is just a tragedy."

Advertiser staff writers Zenaida Serrano Espanol, Rod Ohira and Mike Gordon contributed to this report.

• • •

Hawai'i's worst traffic accidents

July 2, 1944: Seven people, six of them children, die and five are injured when an Army weapons carrier hits parked truck on Farrington Highway in Waialua, overturns and rolls over a group of children walking alongside the road.

Oct. 20, 1945: Five die when a car misses a curve and plunges over embankment on Big Island's Kamuela-Kawaihae Highway in Kohala.

Feb. 28, 1959: Five die when two cars collide head-on on Kaua'i's Kaumuali'i Highway, four miles west of Kekaha.

Feb. 26, 1967: Five die when two cars collide head-on on Maui's Honoapi'ilani Highway near Olowalu.

July 5, 1969: Seven die and three injured when car runs a red light and hits another car broadside at Pu'uloa Road and Kamehameha Highway near Honolulu Airport.

July 3, 1970: Five die when a sedan crashes into a parked truck and a Jeep in front of a Dole Co. truck yard at Ho'olehua, Moloka'i.

Aug. 3, 1971: Six die and two injured when a tractor-trailer loses its brakes, runs a red light, hits a station wagon broadside, then smashes into a dry-cleaning shop and two pedestrians on Kamehameha IV Road in Kalihi.

Nov. 24, 1979: Five Brigham Young University-Hawai'i students die and four injured in a head-on collision involving a compact sedan and a pickup truck on Kamehameha Highway between Helemano and Hale'iwa.

July 24, 1982: Five die and two injured when a speeding car rams another from behind then veers into an oncoming car on Kunia Road near Kunia Camp in Central O'ahu.

June 9, 1988: Five die and three injured in a head-on collision between a speeding sports sedan and tourists' van on Kalaniana'ole Highway at Makapu'u.

July 9, 1988: Six people on a family fishing outing die when their car is hit head-on by a pickup truck on the Ka'ahumanu Highway near Kawaihae on the Big Island.

Jan. 21, 1994: Five die in a van that runs off a cliff at Keawa'ula, or Yokohama Bay, on the Wai'anae Coast.

Nov. 10, 1995: Five die and three injured when speeding car crashes along Kalaniana'ole Highway, near Kuli'ou'ou.

March 18, 2003: Five die when their speeding car crashes into a tree on Kamehameha Highway near Hale'iwa.

Correction: Jose Delizo, 17, was an 11th grader at Waialua High School. His grade level was incorrect in a previous version of this story.