HONOLULU (KHON2) — A 40-year-old New York man is dead after a crash in Hawaii Tuesday night.
Police say the man was traveling on Interstate H-1 near the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport in Honolulu when he lost control and was thrown from the electric unicycle he was riding.
He then was hit by a Honda CRV driven by a 56-year-old woman.
The man was taken to the hospital in critical condition, where he later died, police say.
The woman spoke with Nexstar’s KHON, saying she was about to take the airport exit when the car in front of her tried to avoid something on the road.
“The car in front of me swerved to the left. And then, just right in front of me, I saw something. It looked … I saw that it was red. And honestly, I thought it was a box or something,” she recounts. “I took my foot off the gas and was going to brake, but I hit it before I could even brake.”
She then pulled over to check the damage on her car and to see what she hit.
“As I came upon it, I realized it was a body; it was a person. And that was the first time that I realized what had happened,” she explains. “After the police officers got there, they said that I wasn’t the first person to hit it. I was probably the second or third, but that I was the only one that stopped.”
She tells KHON she is still in shock, trying to process what happened.
Honolulu Police say speed, alcohol and drugs do not appear to be factors in the collision.
On Thursday, the medical examiner identified the unicyclist as Joel Dort, 40, from New York. Dort’s cause of death was multiple injuries due to impact from the SUV and was ruled an accident.
According to Captain James Slayter from the Honolulu Police Department’s traffic division, the man shouldn’t have been riding an electric unicycle on the freeway.
“That is completely illegal,” Slayter explains. “Those are not safe for freeway use or any major thoroughfare. The sad part is they do travel very fast, so some people feel like maybe that would get along fast enough up there, but it’s just, it’s very dangerous, you’re not protected.”
Slayter says they have noticed an uptick in unusual crashes this year and are urging everyone to adhere to the law and drive safely.
“Please just drive sober, slow down, and at the end of the day, don’t be distracted. Focus on the road.”
This is the 45th traffic fatality on Oahu so far this year compared to 52 at this time last year.