Waialua mourns 2 'good kids'
By Rod Ohira
Advertiser Central O'ahu Writer
By Rod Ohira
WAIALUA The tragic deaths of Waialua High School seniors Lanakila Vierra and Shane Bachiller cuts into the seam of this close-knit community, where neighbors look after each other and their kids are friends for life.
Vierra, 17, and Bachiller, 18, were passengers in a car that crashed early Saturday morning on a dark, narrow, winding stretch of Kaukonahua Road between Wahiawa and Waialua. The carload of five teens four of them senior boys at Waialua was returning home at 3:45 a.m. after celebrating Bachiller's birthday on Friday.
Bachiller, a front-seat passenger in the car driven by his cousin, died at the scene. Vierra was pronounced dead at The Queen's Medical Center at 2:22 p.m. His parents, Manny and Gwen Vierra, donated his organs with hopes of saving a life.
The three others in the car, two 18-year-old boys and a girl, 16, escaped serious injuries.
"It's devastating ... like losing your own sons," said Gwen Lavarias, Waialua High's student activities coordinator who lives across the street from the Vierras and taught both Vierra and Bachiller in the seventh and eighth grades. "(Today) is going to be really hard."
Waialua High & Intermediate Principal Valerie Kardash said yesterday that the faculty will meet today with the senior class of nearly 100 and then talk to the rest of the school. "It was such a big loss because both these kids had great potential ... and they were definitely leaders at our school," Kardash said.
"We are all mourning the loss," Kardash said. "We want our students to understand there is this sadness but we also want them to learn from this difficult lesson to value life in others, to follow rules if rules were broken and to show respect for others having a tough time."
Kardash described Vierra and Bachiller as "really good kids, very respectful and academically sound." Both were honor students, according to the principal.
Vierra, the middle of three children, was an outstanding athlete who, despite never having played baseball before, played for the varsity squad so the school could field a team this season.
After taking a building and construction course this year and doing a community project for the Waialua Community Association, Vierra wanted to become an architect, his mother said.
Gwen Vierra estimated 60 to 70 people were at Queen's for her son, who was comatose at the hospital.
"We talked about everything, and I know he could hear," Gwen Vierra said. "I told him how proud he made us, how much of a gentleman he was because of how nice he treated people and how much we loved him.
"At first his heart rate was at 32 and then 48," she added. "I told him your name means victory (in Hawaiian) and that's when it went up to 54. I said 'I know you can hear us, I know you hear me, baby. If you want to go, you can save someone's life."
It was then that Lanakila's parents, knowing that he had expressed interest in being an organ donor, decided to let officials know.
An hour later, as a roomful of people said "we love you," Lanakila's heart rate dropped to 16, which would have meant life support, his mother said.
"I hold no ill-feelings (against the driver) because he has to live with the fact that he was driving a car that killed two people," Gwen Vierra said.
DAY OF TRAGEDY
The Kaukonahua Road crash was followed about 12 hours later by a fatal collision involving a van and motorcycle in Waimanalo that killed Shery-Lyn Villalon, 21, of Kane'ohe. Villalon, a passenger on the motorcycle, died at Castle Medical Center at 4:10 p.m. while the man who was driving the motorcycle was in critical condition at Queen's.
With the three deaths, O'ahu's traffic fatality count for 2006 stands at 40.
In an area of Waialua known as "Mill Camp," Juliet Pedro's thoughts are with her grandson, Shane Bachiller.
"Friday was his birthday and he went to a barbecue party with friends in the afternoon and we never saw him again," Pedro said.
Shane was looking forward to getting his driver's license Friday and had camped out at the Wahiawa police station from midnight. "He slept over but got cut off because they only take 10 a day," Pedro said. "They gave him a date to come back so he spent the day with his mom."
"Shane was loving, caring and sharing, and I going miss him," said Trevor Pedro, 11, of his brother.
Juliet Pedro said her grandson's cousin, 18, was driving the car. What is puzzling to her is that Shane apparently was not using a seat belt, something he always does, Pedro said.
"I don't want anyone else to suffer a loss like we had to," Pedro said. "It's the hardest thing to deal with. I know he's with God."
Vierra is survived by his parents, sister Kala'i, 24, and brother Keli'ikoa, 15.
Bachiller is survived by his mother, Patricia L. Pedro, in addition to his brother and grandmother.
Services for both boys are pending.
A memorial is set up at the site of the crash with cards, balloons and flowers posted on a sign pole that states: "Speed Limit 35."
Reach Rod Ohira at firstname.lastname@example.org.