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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Surviving Hawaii crash victim saw headlights

By Peter Boylan
Advertiser Staff Writer

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Cassie Olaivar

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A 35-year-old Waipahu woman was driving on the H-1 Freeway at about 3:30 a.m. Friday when the car in front of her suddenly changed lanes and left her staring into the headlights of Lisa Matsumoto's green Toyota Camry.

"I was shocked. I didn't know what to do," said Cassie Olaivar, who was in stable condition at The Queens Medical Center yesterday after suffering a broken right leg and ankle and severe cuts to her head.

"There were lights, but the guy in front of me switched lanes and there was no time (to react)," Olaivar said in an interview with The Advertiser. "I don't know what to think. My kids could have been by themselves, without a mother. I can't walk ... I'm just hurting and it shouldn't have happened."

From her hospital bed, Olaivar, the mother of two young daughters, said she had a metal rod inserted into her right leg and metal pins placed in her ankle to hold it together. Also, portions of her scalp are stapled to her skull, she said.

Olaivar said she was driving home from town at 3:32 a.m. Friday when the car in front of her swerved out of the way. Before she could react, she saw headlights coming at her and smashed into Matsumoto's car. She was pinned in her black, four-door Toyota Corolla for more than an hour, conscious and in extreme pain, while firefighters worked to extract her, she said.

Olaivar said Matsumoto's mother and one of her sisters came to visit her in the hospital on Sunday.

"They were nice," said Olaivar.

Roslyn Catracchia, a friend of Lisa Matsumoto, read a statement from Matsumoto's family that said, "We're saddened and deeply concerned about the other people and their families who have also been affected by this accident. Our sincere hope and prayer for a speedy recovery go out to Cassie. We know in our hearts that our Lisa would never have wanted this to happen."

Police said Matsumoto's Camry was about 530 feet east of the Kalihi Street overpass, in the lane closest to the median, when it struck Olaivar's vehicle.

A 21-year-old man whose car crashed while trying to avoid the collision was treated at the scene and was not taken to the hospital.

Reach Peter Boylan at pboylan@honoluluadvertiser.com.

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