Letter for Thursday, January 24, 2019

Why the road closure?

Perhaps someone can explain why a two-vehicle crash near Halfway Bridge at 5:30 a.m. on Saturday morning (Jan. 12) resulted in (essentially) closure of Kaumualii Highway until 11 a.m., with traffic backed up for miles and still not back to normal until after noon.

According to TGI, truck A crossed the center line and struck oncoming truck B resulting in the death of driver A and injury to driver B. The account of driver B and physical evidence indicates the circumstances of the event.

As to the cause, forensic evidence will indicate if driver A was impaired by drugs, alcohol, or cell phone use. Or perhaps driver A had a medical emergency or fell asleep.

In any case, the unfortunate death of said driver renders criminal investigation irrelevant. The scene could have been photographed, damaged vehicles removed and traffic restored within an hour. Investigation could then proceed in due course.

How many people could not get to work that morning? How many people missed flights and how many others were similarly inconvenienced? My wife, a physician at Wilcox Hospital, could not get to work until after noon, nor could other hospital staff who reside on the south or Westside. Fortunately there were no life-threatening emergencies that morning, but that will certainly not always be the case.

If the highway must be closed for a valid reason, why not alert the general public? Whenever we have heavy rainfall we receive flash flood phone warnings at any time of day or night. Could similar warnings be issued for road closures so people can plan accordingly? Just asking.

Robin Clark, Kalaheo

11 Comments
  1. Jake January 24, 2019 7:29 am Reply

    “The scene could have been photographed, damaged vehicles removed and traffic restored within an hour.”……….wait,… what?…….on this island….one hour?

    Just some constructive criticism….you can still make your point, and not bring yourself in to the argument. You started by making it about yourself (your wife). Never a good start to a debate.

    The real issue is that the “highway”, if you want to call a two lane road on this island, needs to be at least three lanes. Anyone making a left hand turn is creating a potential accident going both ways. Having a buffer (turning lane, acceleration lane, deceleration lane) between the two lanes would mitigate this hazard, as well as the straying over the double-yellow lines when people are tired, on the phone, or distracted.

    So, I’ll see everyone in 50 years when we get 3 lanes around the island. God knows no one in Government can plan for something when it is staring them in the face. Stop the madness!


    1. james January 25, 2019 7:28 am Reply

      Would having a 3 lane highway make any difference in getting the road opened any more quickly by investigators following a crash? Somehow, I doubt it. The problem lies with the policies and procedures of KPD. The policy needs to change to prioritize opening at least one lane of traffic no later than one hour following the crash no matter what the circumstances are other than a chemical spill.


      1. Jake January 28, 2019 4:02 am Reply

        I don’t know. However, much of the “Two lane Highway” (I can’t say that without a smile) has no shoulder, or a way around an accident. 3 lanes, with a real shoulder, would mitigate both lanes being at a complete standstill.


  2. Kauaidoug January 24, 2019 7:50 am Reply

    I’ve always found it strange how the public has to rely on a DJ and traffic scouts to get information on traffic incidents. It seems it would be so easy to get a report from the scene somehow. Like have a police report that is official. People who live here forget there are also a lot of visitors traveling on our roads who are going somewhere for an activity and can get frustrated by lack of information. We all do .


  3. manongindashadow January 24, 2019 9:06 am Reply

    KPD won’t broadcast on a scanner any more. For the reason, “they don’t want an audience and people rushing to the scene.”
    If citizens with scanners could hear it (KPD Dispatchers) being dispatch they could avoid that area and tell others not to plan on travel in that area of the accident. Because traffic will be stop or backed up.
    Scanners help!


  4. jOE pUBLIC January 24, 2019 9:13 am Reply

    Robin,
    Heard an Ad on the radio this morning that they are looking for qualified applicants at KPD, you should apply, learn the basics about crime scenes (if selected) and try to get into the specialized unit, Traffic Safety, and you would be able to attend extensive traffic crash investigation courses and you will find your answers.

    If you can not meet the qualifications, suggest you attend the “Citizens Police Academy” that KPD offers to address your concerns about investigations on life/property


  5. Mark Beeksma January 24, 2019 10:05 am Reply

    Robin,
    I totally agree. They should change the policy and at least open up part of the road. There is a vast amount of valuable time lost in a closure like that. If you added up the value of all that time, it would probably be enough to save a life somewhere (by improving a road, buying safety equipment, free medical exams, etc.). So, you might say that closing the road for half a day cost another human life.


  6. manongindashadow January 24, 2019 12:16 pm Reply

    Correction: KPD Dispatcher dispatching KPD Officers to the scene. ” Not KPD Dispatcher being dispatch to the scene.”


  7. manongindashadow January 24, 2019 12:28 pm Reply

    P.S. These so call private land owners won’t allow traffic to go through the old cane haul roads. Yet they want to develop their land for non affordable housing. We need roads, too!


  8. Rev. Dr. Malama Robinson January 24, 2019 12:34 pm Reply

    Dear Robin,

    Always good to see people asking logical questions about the actions of the Police and how it interferes with public and private citizens rights to travel or any other means of FREEDOM.

    Perhaps another lawsuit against the County of Kauai is overdue?

    Gross negligence is 1 of many reasons for a Class action lawsuit…..


  9. Koconut_wireless January 26, 2019 10:30 am Reply

    Robin,
    Would your feelings of the highway being closed and the inconvenience be the same if your wife was the driver A or B? Especially if your wife was driver B, wouldn’t you want a solid investigation? I agree KPD is a bit over the top with road closures. Most agencies go back over night and re-construct the scene. But KPD is also set in its “old school” ways and won’t welcome what is done on the mainland. However, Unless you have some sort of police training or expertise in traffic related investigations you shouldn’t be telling them how to do their job. Pretty sure the traffic guys aren’t telling you how to do yours…This is a small island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Many chose to live here because of the slower life style. Slow down and enjoy it. Be thankful it wasn’t your wife was only delayed and not involved in a fatality crash. The other driver (B) now has to live with that the rest of his life. Until you’ve experienced it first hand don’t complain about it. Until you’ve looked death in the face, seen mangled bodies, held the hand of a dying persons, and told them help is on the way, don’t tell a Police officer how to do their job. You haven’t earned it. Wolf vs. Sheep mentality.


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