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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, May 5, 2006

Arrest made in Kunia crash

By Peter Boylan
Advertiser Staff Writer

Police yesterday arrested a 46-year-old man in connection with an April 24 crash on Kunia Road that killed four farm workers and injured eight others.

Police have been looking for the driver of a car that was passing in a no-passing zone that morning, causing an oncoming pickup truck carrying the workers to swerve into a cement truck.

The suspect, a civilian employee at Schofield Barracks, turned himself in at Honolulu police headquarters with his attorney at 11:15 a.m., police said.

He was arrested and booked for investigation of eight felony counts, and released without charges pending further investigation.

The man is a "suspect" but the case remains open, said police spokesman Capt. Frank Fujii.

"A case like this, where we are actually starting from scratch, there is a tremendous amount of work that needs to be done," Fujii said.

The suspect is the same person questioned by police on the day of the crash, after witnesses followed a car to Schofield Barracks and called police.

Fujii declined to give details on what led police to arrest the man. "In order for us to arrest anybody we need probable cause," he said.

The man was arrested for investigation of five counts of causing an accident involving death or serious bodily injury and three counts of causing an accident involving substantial bodily injury.

Each count is a class-B felony punishable by up to 10 years in jail and a $25,000 fine.

Twelve people were in the southbound truck that swerved to avoid the northbound car that was illegally passing. The truck swerved to avoid the car but collided with a oncoming cement-mixing truck. The accident happened on Kunia Road near the Anonui Street entrance to the Royal Kunia subdivision at 7:35 a.m.

Killed were Aquilina Polendey, 57, of Waipahu; Lorna Laroco, 53, of 'Ewa Beach; Gertrudis Montano, 59, of 'Ewa Beach; and Ana Sacalamitao, 46, of Waipahu.

Eight other people in the pickup were treated for injuries at The Queen's Medical Center.

Reach Peter Boylan at pboylan@honoluluadvertiser.com.