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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted at 12:53 p.m., Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Student indicted in street-race fatality

By David Waite
Advertiser Courts Writer

A Honolulu man accused of racing with another car on the H-1 Freeway in Aug. 26, 2001 at speeds of more than 100 mph before his car slammed into a van, killing one of the occupants, was indicted by an O'ahu grand jury this morning on a charge of manslaughter.

Elizabeth Kekoa, a teacher at Holy Trinity School, was killed in the collision on the H-1 Freeway.

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City deputy prosecutor Sharlene Tom told Circuit Judge Richard Perkins that Nicholas Tudisco "made an admission" to police officers at the crash site that he had been racing in moments prior to the crash that killed Elizabeth Kekoa, 58, a teacher at Holy Trinity School. Perkins granted Tom's request to set bail for Tudisco at $100,000.

Tudisco, 18 at the time, is now a junior at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, playing on the baseball team as an outfielder. Tom said Tudisco may have to be extradited. Tudisco and his lawyer could not be reached immediately to comment.

The crash in which Kekoa was killed was one in a series of deadly incidents involving illegal street racing which elevated community concerns about how to deal with the issue.

Kekoa was a passenger in a Ford Aerostar van when it was struck by a car on the freeway near Kaimuki. Police said the car, a Honda Prelude, was believed to be speeding and possibly racing. Kekoa’s husband, Wally, driver of the van, and mother, Rose Davis, were also injured in the crash.

Police arrested Tudisco on suspicion of second-degree negligent homicide, but released him pending further investigation. Tudisco was not hurt in the accident.

According to a preliminary police report of the crash, witnesses said Tudisco's 1999 Prelude was among several cars speeding east toward the Sixth Avenue off-ramp, when he lost control.

Tudisco's auto bounced off the median and hit the van, causing it to strike the guardrail, police reported. Police gave Tudisco a breath test, which turned up negative for alcohol, the report said.

In March 2002 the Kekoa family sued Tudisco's family, claiming Tudisco was racing and driving in excess of 100 mph when he lost control of his car. The lawsuit also accused Tudisco of modifying his Prelude with "high-performance parts" but failing to obtain the required state permits. It asked for an unspecified amount of damages.