Tragedy again for Waialua friends
By Rod Ohira
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Rod Ohira
A weekend farewell get-together among Waialua High School graduates turned into a final goodbye.
Early yesterday, 18-year-old Bobby Gouveia of Waialua died when the 1991 Acura Integra he was riding in veered across the center line of Farrington Highway, struck a utility pole and fence and rolled over several times before stopping on the grounds of Dillingham Airfield & Gliderport in Mokule'ia.
Gouveia, who was identified yesterday by the Honolulu Medical Examiner's office, died at the scene.
The driver of the car, an 18-year-old Hale'iwa man, and rear-seat passenger, a 17-year-old male also from Hale'iwa, were in serious condition at The Queen's Medical Center.
Lisa Reed, lead police vehicular homicide investigator, said speed and alcohol appear to be factors in the 2:40 a.m. crash, which resulted in O'ahu's 77th traffic fatality of the year.
Gouveia was the front-seat passenger in the Integra, police said.
Tragedy is no stranger to the group of 2006 Waialua grads, who lost two other classmates — Lanakila Vierra and Shane Bachiller — in a car crash on Kaukonahua Road last May.
The car was the lead vehicle in a convoy headed to Mokule'ia beach, said Brandon Repollo, a 2006 Waialua grad with Gouveia, Vierra, Bachiller and the two injured in yesterday's crash. Repollo was in one of the cars.
The group was having a "last-weekend" fling of cruising around because Gouveia planned to return this week to Universal Technical School in Avondale, Ariz., where he was studying to become an automotive mechanic, Repollo said.
Repollo, a former UTI student who roomed with Gouveia while they were in Arizona in July, described his friend as a "mellow guy to cruise with who made everybody laugh. This is country so everybody knows everybody. It's kind of hard for all of us right now."
Gouveia had a talent for fixing cars, Repollo added.
"Since we entered high school, he fixed up 18 cars," Repollo said. "He'd buy, trade and sell 'em."
Repollo and Gouveia were among the group of friends who attended a recent monthly gathering at the Mill Camp home where Bachiller lived.
The group has met on the 13th of every month to remember Bachiller and Vierra, who were killed on May 13, the day after Bachiller's 18th birthday.
"They were just here a couple of weeks ago and we always remind them not to speed," said Eddie Pedro, Bachiller's uncle. "I couldn't believe it when I heard about Bobby. He was a good kid, fun to be around."
The cars weren't racing on the drive to Mokule'ia early yesterday, Repollo said, but it's part of what he and many of his friends enjoy.
"Honestly, I speed but not race when I have people in the car," Repollo said. "I've been in a critical accident and yes, we should know better. But honestly, people don't think and it's just something that happens at a moment."
Reach Rod Ohira at firstname.lastname@example.org.