Friends remember tow truck driver hit and killed on H-2, warn of industry dangers
One man is dead, and another in serious condition after being hit on the H-2 Freeway early Thursday morning.
Emergency Medical Services (EMS) reports two men - a tow truck driver and a stranded motorists were standing next to a stalled vehicle when they were hit by a car. The 43-year-old tow truck driver, Aaron Malama was pronounced dead later Thursday. The 49-year-old man stranded driver was last reported to be in serious condition.
The incident happened a little before 1 a.m. on the H-2 northbound near the Mililani Tech Park exit.
Aaron Malama is being remembered by friends as a hardworking family man. Tony Pinheiro, Aaron's boss at A's Towing, says he was working two jobs to make ends meet. He would work for A's Towing during the day, and another company at night, which is when this incident happened.
Pinheiro says Malama was the best driver in his fleet. "He was a nice guy, hard to find guys like that," he says.
But he says the industry they work in is dangerous. Pinheiro says tow truck drivers are often afraid, especially on freeways where shoulders and narrow when they're working, and drivers are speeding. "Something like that is bound to happen when drivers don't move over. They're trying to kill us out there," he says.
He says drivers are ignoring Hawaii's 'Move Over Laws,' which requires drivers to slow down and get over a lane when emergency vehicles, including tow trucks are working on the side of the road.
He says until drivers pay better attention, he's encouraging tow drivers to take extra precautions on the road, including putting out cones and even calling for police to meet them on the side of the road for an extra layer of safety.
The driver, 45-year old Edrina Rapis was arrested for driving under the influence and negligent injury.
This is the first fatality in 2020, compared to two in 2019 at this time.