Freeway collision kills 2 women
Two people were killed early yesterday morning when a drunken woman drove a sport utility vehicle the wrong way on Moanalua Freeway and crashed head-on into a compact sedan, officials said.
The driver of the wrong-way SUV was identified by the medical examiner's office as Renee Champ, 20, of Honolulu. The medical examiner's office said Champ suffered from "acute alcohol intoxication." Police said she was pregnant.
Also killed was the driver of the other car, Chikako Iwakiri, 40, of Kalihi.
Police said Champ was driving a 2000 Ford Explorer the wrong way in the freeway's westbound lanes on Red Hill. Champ was driving in the lane closest to the median.
Iwakiri was driving westbound in a 1996 Nissan Sentra, also in the lane next to the median. Police said as the vehicles approached one another, each driver swerved. But they swerved into each other, collided head-on and burst into flames about two-tenths of a mile east of the Red Hill off-ramp, police said. The crash was reported at 2:54 a.m.
Firefighters said the Explorer was fully engulfed in flames when they arrived. Police said the vehicles came to rest near the center barrier and that both women were declared dead at the scene as a result of massive injuries.
Police closed all westbound lanes of Moanalua Freeway and diverted traffic onto the H-1 Freeway's airport viaduct. Moanalua Freeway was reopened about 6:30 a.m.
The traffic fatalities were the 23rd and 24th on O'ahu this year.
On the Big Island, police have charged a 22-year-old Kealakekua woman with manslaughter, driving under the influence and other counts for a fatal crash Monday on Queen Ka'ahumanu Highway in Kailua, Kona.
Police said Dana-Nicole Ellisor was driving a 2006 Ford sedan that crossed the center line and crashed head-on into a northbound 2004 Honda sedan. A passenger in the Honda, Cristina Galutira, 66, was killed.