Pedestrian killed by alleged drunk driver
By Eloise Aguiar
Advertiser Staff Writer
A veteran in the hospitality industry, Ray Kanemori, 61, leaves a legacy of aloha that he shared with guests and fellow employees, co-workers said yesterday.
Kanemori died late Monday night after being hit by an alleged drunk driver as the Kńne'ohe man walked to his car after work at the Ohana Waikiki East hotel. It was the fourth pedestrian death on O'ahu this year.
Police arrested a 28-year-old Honolulu man on suspicion of negligent homicide and driving under the influence of an intoxicant. He was driving the wrong way on a one-way street, police said. Kanemori was not in a crosswalk, police said.
The crash happened about 11:20 p.m. on Walina Street.
Employees of the Outrigger Enterprises Group were "unsettled" by the unexpected nature of the incident, said David Carey, president and CEO of the company. Carey met with employees all day yesterday to discuss the tragedy and to offer support.
"The thing that struck people here was you really didn't have a chance to say your goodbyes," Carey said. "It comes suddenly and it comes to the kind of person you wouldn't expect to be struck down because he's such a nice guy."
Again and again at the company gatherings, people said Kanemori was always a happy person, with an infectious laugh and willing to help whenever there was a need, Carey said.
"So that makes it really tough for people to handle," Carey said.
The first month of 2010 has seen a sharp rise in pedestrian deaths. State-wide, there were 16 pedestrian deaths in 2009 and 21 in 2008, the state Department of Transportation said.
The ages of the victims in this year's fatal accidents were 81, 73, 52 and 61.
"We continue to be one of the most dangerous places in the country to be a pedestrian and these pedestrian crashes very often are avoidable," said Barbara Kim Stanton, AARP director for Hawai'i.
Stanton said a law passed last year to improve street designs needs to be implemented and that people need to be more educated about steps they can take to be safer on the roads.
Safety features such as lights embedded in crosswalks and crossing warning signs between lanes on multi-lane highways should be considered, she said.
"Clearly the pedestrians very often are invisible to drivers and we have to do something to make sure that the pedestrians are seen and that they're attentive when they're crossing," Stanton said.
Kanemori was a guest services manage for Outrigger's Ohana Waikiki East hotel, said Barry Wallace, executive vice president of hospitality services at Outrigger.
Kanemori had been with the company for 36 years and his wife, Camille, also is a guest services representative with the company, Wallace said.
"Our employees will miss Ray very much," he said. "However, his genuine spirit of aloha to both employees and guests will be a legacy that the Outrigger 'ohana will cherish forever."
Kanemori loved golf and trips to Las Vegas, said his wife. He was a Boy Scout leader and coached soccer and baseball, and most recently he focused on golf, Camille Kanemori said.
He grew up in KaimukÝ and graduated from KaimukÝ High School, she said.
She was also working on the night he was struck but they had come in separate automobiles, Camille Kanemori said.
"He was a very helpful person," she said. "He was a mentor to a lot of employees at the Outrigger hotel."
Ed Kanemori, Ray Kanemori's brother, said his brother was once in the Air National Guard, where one is prepared to go into harm's way.
"You sort of expect it, but nothing like this," Ed Kanemori said. "This is a total surprise. It's a rude awakening as to how frail the body is.
"I think the kids today have to realize that there are consequences to what they do."
Kanemori is survived by his wife; sons Tyler and Brian; and his brother. Services are pending.