Memorial set for crash victim

Kaua‘i Police Department officials continue to investigate the circumstances surrounding Wednesday night’s fatal three-car collision in Wailua, according to Lt. Mark Scribner.

Joseph N. Piekos, a 24-year-old Kapa‘a resident originally from Niles, Ill., died late Wednesday at Wilcox Memorial Hospital due to severe internal injuries, Scribner said. Piekos had been admitted to the hospital, breathing but not conscious, just before 10 p.m.

Wailua resident Diana Wiseley, who took Piekos into her home roughly six months ago, said yesterday that a Hawaiian memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday at wailua beach in the area near the volleyball net across Kuhio Highway from Kuamo‘o Road.

Wiseley said that Piekos, who moved to Kaua‘i from the Chicago suburb in June 2007, worked in the carpenters’ union for her husband David, and got along well with the couple’s three children.

“We loved him like he was our own,” she said. “It’s just a tragedy.”

According to Wiseley, Piekos is survived by a mother and father, who will be arriving on Kaua‘i in the coming days, as well as two sisters, a brother and a grandmother.

A preliminary police report stated that Piekos was traveling east on Kuamo‘o Road alone in an older dark-colored El Camino at roughly 9:19 p.m. Wednesday.

Wiseley said she believed he was going to the Shell station to get gas for the next morning’s work but “didn’t make it down the hill.”

Piekos overtook a white Hyundai sedan at a blind corner, crossing double solid lines into the oncoming traffic lane. His car collided with a westbound blue Ford SUV west of the Opaeka‘a bridge, just before the road starts to go uphill, according to Sgt. Keoka Ledesma.

Scribner said yesterday that both the El Camino and SUV were “totaled” by the impact.

The driver of the SUV, Delrae Keliipuleole, 30, of Kapa‘a, and a juvenile front-seat passenger remained hospitalized yesterday with leg injuries, according to Scribner.

The sedan sustained damage to the windshield, hood and front bumper, Scribner said, possibly from a combination of direct impact with the other vehicles and flying debris.

According to county spokesperson Mary Daubert, the sedan’s two occupants sustained minor injuries but were not transported to Wilcox.

Kuamo‘o Road was closed in both directions until 1:15 a.m. Thursday, Ledesma said, with officers turning travelers around as the vehicles were towed and the scene was cleared.

KPD’s Traffic Safety Unit will continue to examine the vehicles and other data before releasing a full report covering potential causes, speeds, seatbelt use and other factors, Scribner said.

The victim is Kaua‘i’s eighth traffic fatality in 2008, according to a prepared statement from KPD Chief Darryl Perry.

• Michael Levine, staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 252) or mlevine@kauaipubco.com

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