Drunk driver Dylan Katekaru
A utility worker was hospitalized in critical condition after he was hit by a car in the Punchbowl area early Wednesday morning.
It happened at around 12:40 a.m. on the Punchbowl Street on-ramp onto the H-1 Freeway westbound.
Police tell us a 22-year-old driver was traveling westbound when he lost control of his car, rear-ended a utility vehicle, and struck a guard rail.
Police say he then hit a 47-year-old utility electrical worker who was working on a highway lighting project. The man was pinned between the car and a utility boom truck.
Dylan Katekaru was arrested for driving under the influence and negligent injury. He has not been charged.
Police say alcohol is a factor in the crash, but it is unknown if speed is one as well.
Police tell us the victim was working on installing LED light fixtures to the Punchbowl tunnel and beneath the Queen Emma Street overpass.
We reached out to the company where the victim worked, but no one was ready to talk.
The state Department of Transportation says the crash victim is an electrician who was contracted to work on the state’s lighting improvement project.
When it comes to working on Hawaii’s highways, what are the dangers workers face?
Amber Le owns Liberty Tow Hawaii, an emergency tow service company.
She tells her drivers “to stay as safe as possible. We need to put out the cones. We all took the same class here. For all the tow truck drivers on the island, we take the same safety class. We have to put out the cones. If it’s dark, we even have our flashlights that we put out. Our flashlights are on this pulsating setting, so that people are aware when they are approaching.”
Le says drivers need to merge over, because they are traveling too fast, and it creates a dangerous work environment for people trying to help others get off the highway.
“We do these jobs that no one else will do, and we have a family of our own,” Le said. “It just pains me to know that there are so many reckless people out there, doing these incredible horrible things like drinking and driving, and we have to pay for it with our lives.”
We asked Honolulu police and the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations how often workers are injured on the highway.
Both said they do not have that information.
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -
Honolulu police have arrested Dylan Katekaru, 22, in connection with an early-morning crash Wednesday that sent an electrical worker to the hospital in critical condition.
The crash happened around 12:40 a.m. near the H-1 Freeway Queen Emma Street overpass.
Police said the 22-year-old man came from the Pali Highway off-ramp near the H-1 Freeway westbound when he lost control and collided with an electrical utility van that was parked in a construction work zone.
The sedan then skidded into a guardrail and hit a boom truck which pinned the 47-year-old electrical worker who was outside the truck along the freeway.
He was rushed to the Queen’s Medical Center in critical condition.
The driver of the sedan was arrested on suspicion of first-degree negligent injury and operating a vehicle under intoxicants.
Police said alcohol and speed appear to be factors.
Public records indicate the 22-year-old was arrested for drunk driving four years ago.
In 2014, Katekaru's criminal case was dismissed because the arresting officer did not show up for court. Still, his license was suspended for one year.
Six months later, Katekaru was arrested for reckless driving with a suspended license. Again, his case was dismissed because the officer did not come to court.
Also in 2013, Katekaru was cited for speeding going 67 miles an hour in a 45 mile an hour zone. Eight months after that, he was ticketed for speeding in a school or a construction zone.
"This one is especially sad because the person who caused the injury was very young and had a history of traffic infractions, a whole number of them...these were missed opportunities for the system to identify this person as having a problem and hopefully getting him help," said Carol McNamee, founder of MADD Hawaii.
"We really feel for this man who was doing his job and thought he was protected, and yet, an impaired driver still got to him, and we just hope that he does well and he'll be OK," McNamee said.