Remembering Ryder, Tyler and Max

  • Jessica Else/The Garden Island

    Charlee Baldwin contemplates the momentos left for the three boys who died in Saturday’s car crash in Anahola support each other at the memorial set up in front of Whalers General Store.

  • Jessica Else/The Garden Island

    Community members, friends and family of the three boys who died in Saturday’s car crash in Anahola support each other at the memorial set up in front of Whalers General Store.

  • Jessica Else/The Garden Island

    Messages and momentos are stacking up on the side of the road in Anahola, in honor of the three young men who died in a vehicle accident on Saturday.

  • Jessica Else/The Garden Island

    Friends and classmates of the three boys who died in Saturday’s car crash in Anahola gather to pay their respects at the memorial in front of the Whalers General Store.

  • Jessica Else/The Garden Island

    Messages and momentos are stacking up on the side of the road in Anahola, in honor of the three young men who died in a vehicle accident on Saturday.

  • Jessica Else/The Garden Island

    Friends and classmates of the three boys who died in Saturday’s car crash in Anahola gather to pay their respects at the memorial in front of Whalers General Store.

  • Jessica Else/The Garden Island

    Community members, friends and family of the three boys who died in Saturday’s car crash in Anahola support each other at the memorial set up in front of Whalers General Store.

  • Jessica Else/The Garden Island

    Messages and momentos are stacking up on the side of the road in Anahola, in honor of the three young men who died in a vehicle accident on Saturday.

  • Jessica Else/The Garden Island

    Messages and momentos are stacking up on the side of the road in Anahola, in honor of the three young men who died in a vehicle accident on Saturday.

ANAHOLA — Kala’e Rapozo has spent a total five hours on the side of the road since Saturday afternoon, returning time and time again to a memorial that’s been growing along Kuhio Highway in front of the Whalers General Store.

“I just keep coming back, leaving for a while, and coming back,” she said Monday afternoon, still standing strong in her vigil to commemorate the lives of Ryder Kaui, Max Jonah and Tyler Bigno — the three young men who were killed in a single-vehicle crash that occurred between the store and Anahola Bridge about 12:20 a.m. Saturday.

According to preliminary investigations, Kaui, Jonah, and Bigno were traveling in a gray Toyota pickup truck, going south through Anahola at a high rate of speed when they crossed into the northbound lane, hit a guardrail and flipped the vehicle. They came to a stop upside-down near the Whalers General Store, according to Kauai Police Department.

Two other occupants were in the car and survived non-life-threatening injuries.

Kuhio Highway was closed in both directions for roughly six hours as police investigated the scene. The highway was reopened shortly after 6:20 a.m., according to a news release from KPD.

Rapozo isn’t the only one who has been creating the memorial to honor the three “Kauai Boyz”; dozens of students, teachers and community members have been stopping by since Saturday, leaving autographed jerseys and T-shirts, flowers and balloons, and signs with writings saying “Rest in Love”, “#bigzzz”, and other personal messages.

As she stood there, action in the parking lot of the Whalers General Store never stopped. Cars navigated around the crowded lot, their drivers trying to park for a short time to come pay respects to the three young men, one of whom was 20 years old and the other two 16. Neighbors, classmates and friends arrived in groups of twos and threes, taking a moment to themselves before reaching out to whoever was standing next to them for a hug.

“Fly High Ryder Boy….” Rebecca Hart read a message stickered on a pair of motocross goggles and wrapped around a nearby fire hydrant. “I was his teacher. I remember I DJ’d at one of his school dances. He asked me to play a slow song so he could ask a girl to dance with him. So sweet.”

Charlee Baldwin was closest out of the three to Ryder, and she said he was a ray of sunshine with a dynamic personality.

“Ryder, he’d lighten up the room. Always made you laugh,” Baldwin said. “He was too young. They all were.”

Rapozo also said that upbeat demeanor was what she’d remember most about all three of the young men — all of whom were her friends.

“They all had great smiles,” she said. “They all were that way. No matter if they had a good day or not, they always had a smile on their faces.”

All three of the young men were true Kauai boys, according to those who knew them, their photos show them fishing and riding dirt bikes, and being involved in local organizations like the Waipa Foundation.

No one knows for sure how long the memorial along Kuhio Highway will continue to grow, but officials caution drivers to slow down in the area because people are crossing the road frequently.

A memorial cruise is scheduled in memory of Ryder, Max and Tyler for Dec. 8 and will be an opportunity for the community to gather at the memorial.

The convoy is set to start at 11:30 a.m. at Haena Beach Park and end at the crash site by Whalers General Store. Organizers encourage everyone who would like to join to bring leis and flowers, as well as anything else they’d like to contribute to the memorial. Join the community after the convoy for a talk story session and a cookout at Anahola Beach.

9 Comments
  1. Maile November 26, 2019 8:15 am Reply

    Tyler’s last name was Bigno please update


  2. Kristin Hall November 26, 2019 10:19 am Reply

    We are heartbroken over the loss of Max, Ruder and Tyler. We are heartbroken over the grief of the two boys who survived.

    Garden Island, I have called, left messages, emailed and texted you. One of the boys last names is spelled wrong. One of the boys last names is completely wrong. Please correct this ASAP.


    1. Kristin Hall November 26, 2019 10:20 am Reply

      *Ryder


  3. ruthann jones November 26, 2019 5:42 pm Reply

    I am so saddened by the tragic loss of these young men. I hear nothing about the circumstances of the accident other than ‘speeding’. Is it too soon to talk about the dangers of driving under the influence, etc?


    1. Michael Mann November 26, 2019 10:33 pm Reply

      Ruthann, are you aware of “driving under the influence” being a circumstance of this particular accident? If not, then it is not just “too early” but actually inappropriate to be talking about it in this case. If you do, then perhaps it is a bit “too early” and possibly still inappropriate to be talking about it. Many kids on this island have just lost friends/people they know here. Please let them grieve without adult moralizing. It’s probably the last thing in the world that they need right now.


  4. david presley November 27, 2019 10:36 am Reply

    Astoundingly bad coverage by the Garden Island. Journalism school anyone? What caused the accident? What were they doing before the accident? What happened to the two boys that were ejected from the bed of the truck. Facebook has some different facts than the article. As a parent these kind of facts are important so that an open discussion can be had.


  5. Michael D Mann November 27, 2019 4:51 pm Reply

    What “different facts” does Facebook have, and why should you believe them? The other two kids were thrown from the vehicle, and had non-life threatening injuries. Every report I have seen across multiple news sources reports exactly what is reported here. It seems you are looking for some particular information…what would that be? What possible reason would the news agencies have for hiding information? I don’t see how not having every detail of this story prevents you from having an open and honest discussion with your children. I suspect that certain people are just itching to get some juicy gossip to start moralizing and preaching. For all people know, the vehicle may have encountered some problem which caused the excessive speed. Can people not just WAIT for things to be investigated?


  6. LG November 28, 2019 9:37 am Reply

    Still think an apology should be issued in regards to getting one of the Boys names wrong – how disrespectful and what poor reporting. Just quietly correcting the error and sweeping under the rug isn’t enough. Why is it that the garden island does better reporting on the lady in purple at the bus stop than they do a tragedy affecting the whole island. Shameful. Rest easy sweet boys 💙


  7. kealohi December 16, 2019 8:50 pm Reply

    aloha, i am a Waipa child who grew up with Ryder and i feel that if you are going to write about the crash in the paper i feel it would be respectful to at least have more sympathy in the writing because, the whole island has lost their brothers, best friends, childhood friends, and children. i will always love Ryder with all my heart and all of them will have a special place in my heart. in respect of the families who lost such amazing boys, i am so so so sorry for your loss and there are no words for how much they will be missed. R.I.L. R.K, M.J, AND T.B we love you #kauai boyzzzfolife


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