When a Honolulu police vehicle collided with another vehicle in Nanakuli in 2019 – causing the shutdown of Farrington Highway and sending the civilian driver to the hospital – the police department blamed the civilian.
A year and a half later, the Honolulu Police Department still hasn’t admitted any guilt. But the city has quietly agreed to pay the civilian driver, Kekoa Andrade, a $365,000 settlement.
According to HPD’s account of the incident from 2019, the officer was driving west on Farrington Highway to a call for service with his blue light on and siren blaring “while waiting at the intersection to make a U-turn.”
“The male civilian driver was driving mauka to makai and struck the officer’s vehicle,” HPD said.
But a witness cast doubt on HPD’s narrative on Facebook soon after the crash, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported at the time.
“We could hear faint sirens, but we couldn’t tell where it was coming from. As the driver tried to pull out on to the road, the cop full on slammed into the Civic,” the post, as reviewed by the Advertiser, stated.
“The cop didn’t slow down to even check if someone was turning out. He was speeding at a rate to where his car almost did a full 360 turn.”
Photos of the collision shared by news media show the Honda Civic was essentially totaled and the HPD cruiser had serious front-end damage.
The crash fractured Andrade’s hip and pelvis, which required surgery to repair, according to copies of his claim and settlement obtained by Civil Beat through a public records request.
The payment is meant to compensate him for pain and suffering, mental and emotional distress and other damages, the settlement states.
HPD declined to name the officer. Spokeswoman Sarah Yoro said the officer has 10 years of service with HPD and that he was disciplined but is appealing the punishment through the grievance process.
Stuart Kodish, a personal injury attorney representing Andrade, declined to comment about the case on Thursday.
The Honolulu City Council approved the settlement of Andrade’s claim at a meeting last month after discussing the matter at the committee level, behind closed doors in executive session.
As with all settlements of lawsuits and legal claims, the agenda provided no description of Andrade’s claim, and council members did not publicly discuss it.
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