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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, July 8, 2007

Makaha hit-run kills bicyclist from Waianae

By Mary Vorsino
Advertiser Staff Writer

A 39-year-old bicyclist was killed early yesterday on Farrington Highway in Makaha when the driver of a sport utility vehicle veered onto the shoulder and hit her and then fled the scene, police said.

A 22-year-old man was later arrested on suspicion of negligent homicide and failure to render aid in connection with the accident. Police said alcohol is a likely factor in the crash.

The victim, identified as Correna Medeiros of Wai'anae, was pronounced dead at the Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center.

Police said she suffered severe head injuries when she was thrown from her bicycle.

The crash yesterday happened about 5:26 a.m. near the Farrington intersection with Lahilahi Place.

The death spurred new calls to better pedestrian and bicycle safety along Farrington Highway, where two pedestrians died earlier this year while trying to cross the thoroughfare.

Some say there needs to be more awareness in the community and an emphasis on drivers to share the road with bicyclists and pedestrians.

They also said more money needs to be spent on better lighting, bicycle lanes and crosswalks.

"It is a big concern," said Cathy Alana, project coordinator for the newly opened state homeless shelter in Wai'anae, whose 206 residents often bike or walk to get to the store or bus stops.

Alana often warns her clients to be extra careful when walking or biking along Farrington. She is especially worried about the 73 children who live at the shelter and walk or bike to school.

"The visibility isn't that great," Alana said. "And people (drivers) seem to be very impatient."

Police said Medeiros, who has no local address, was heading east in the soft shoulder on Farrington when she was rear-ended by a 2006 Honda Pilot driven by a Wai'anae man.

The driver fled, but witnesses provided a description of the vehicle, and police were able to track it down. He was arrested about noon.

The investigation at the scene slowed traffic on Farrington for hours.

The traffic death yesterday is the 38th this year, compared to 51 at the same time in 2006.

Earlier this year, two elderly pedestrians were killed in Makaha. Both were in crosswalks.

On March 5, an 80-year-old woman was killed while trying to cross Farrington at Army Street.

The month before, a 63-year-old man was fatally hit while in a crosswalk near the Makaha Surfside Apartments, where he was headed.

Venise Lewis, who lives at the state homeless shelter nearby with her family, said all the accidents show the need for action.

"Over here, it's bad. It's dangerous," said Lewis, who has three children. She walks them to the bus stop when they head to school, and worries about them until they return.

Lewis said she was nearly hit recently on Farrington when she tried to cross the four-lane highway and a driver ran a red light.

"The car went right in front of us," she said.

Reach Mary Vorsino at mvorsino@honoluluadvertiser.com.