‘ANINI — After two weeks of seeing an abandoned blue Nissan Pathfinder stuck on the rocks of ‘Anini Beach’s northern shoreline, two siblings and friends rolled up their sleeves on Monday.
Megan Wong, a resident of Kilauea, recently posted on a Kaua‘i Facebook page about the vehicle.
“Been there for almost weeks,” Megan said. “I drove by and posted it on Facebook, and my brother drove by yesterday (Monday) and still saw it there. He called me yesterday, and he and his friends weren’t prepared to wait anymore, they knew the surf was coming up, so they assembled and took it out.”
On Monday, Megan’s brother, Kona Wong, saw the car still at ‘Anini. The Wongs called the Mayor’s office and the state Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) office to figure out who was accountable for removing it.
“I called to find out who is responsible, it was in-between state and county right on the water,” Kona said. “I checked it out, seen the gas and fuel coming out on the rocks, high surf coming in today and tomorrow.”
Kona said the county and state were holding each other accountable for the vehicle, not confirming if they would remove it.
“I thought to myself if they no like do it, I will,” Kona said. “I will get it to a safer location for the time being. With a couple of friends, we hooked it up to our trucks, one of them worked at the Fire Department, and he brought oil rock granules to soak up the oils. We used two chainsaws, two trucks, and some shovels.”
Kona said the vehicle was balanced off the rocks by trees nearby, which had to cut to release the vehicle off the rocks.
“For me, when we see anything going in the community, it is our job, it’s our kuleana,” Kona said. “It’s our job to take care of our backyard and front beach. No, wait just do it. If you know you can do it. If you know you can help without injuring anyone and if you have the means.”
According to Kona, after he and his friends pulled the vehicle to the side of the road, the Kaua‘i Police Department sent a police officer to tag it to be removed.
KPD posts abandoned and derelict vehicles as they are reported. Vehicles are removed during each business day, Monday through Friday. Typically, multiple vehicles are removed each day.
“KPD must post an Abandoned Vehicle notice for at least 24 hours, allowing time for the owner to retrieve the vehicle may take longer depending on the circumstances, such as if the vehicle is on state or county beaches which require a separate procurement process,” a spokesperson for KPD said. “Also, tows that are considered difficult can cause delays.”
KPD is not legally permitted to remove abandoned or derelict vehicles from private property.
“Although you may see an abandoned or derelict sticker posted on the vehicle on private property, it is the responsibility of the property owner to have the vehicle removed,” the spokesperson said. “Every Kaua‘i resident can dispose of up to three vehicles a year for free at Puhi Metals recycling center. This means you have until December 31 to dispose of up to three vehicles at no charge. And next year you can dispose of three more vehicles.”
DLNR spokesperson Giovonni Parks confirmed the office received a call about the blue Nissan Pathfinder, and must investigate each case.
“It depends on who owns the land in question. When a vehicle is reported as abandoned, possibly on DLNR Lands, an officer is sent out to investigate the complaint. If it is determined to be on DLNR Lands, the vehicle owner or respective DLNR Division is responsible to remove the vehicle.
“If the owner of the vehicle cannot be identified or located, the respective DLNR Division where the vehicle is located on is responsible to remove the vehicle,” Parks said.
While Megan reported the vehicle and her brother and friends got it off the shoreline, they both saw a syringe needle and a camping permit.
“It says we have a deeper, more rooted problem here on our ‘aina,” Megan said.
Both Megan and Kona said, “It’s our kuleana.”