HONOLULU (KHON2) — The holiday season is a busy time on the roads and for one Oahu family, it’s reliving a nightmare every year. This comes after their loved one was killed a week before Christmas. Now, they’re reminding everyone to keep each other in mind this holiday season.
Azalia Park was just 21 when police said she was hit while in a crosswalk on Dec. 18, 2020. Park died three days later from her injuries.
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“Never in my life did I think this would happen to my family, it was something I’ve seen on tv, on the news,” said Shayna Park, the victim’s sister. “The feeling when it happens to your family and to my own sister is just unimaginable.”
The Hawaii Department of Transportation said, it’s been a deadly year on the roads with 115 fatalities so far compared to 90 for the same time last year.
The Honolulu Police Department is reminding everyone to practice caution on the roads whether they’re motorists or pedestrians.
“For the public, we’re really asking you to, if you’re going to walk across the street do it in a crosswalk, wear clothing that lighted, or use some kind of light so people can see you,” said Chief Joe Logan of the Honolulu Police Department. “Your safety is most important to us.”
Maui police have arrested 579 people this year for driving under the influence and on Hawaii Island there have been 948 DUI arrests.
“There’s too many families that have an empty place setting at their tables because a loved one’s been killed because someone didn’t make the right decision,” said Ret. Lt. William Hankins, member of the State Highways Safety Commission. “The first thing that alcohol does is it invites bad decisions. So if you’re going to drink, plan ahead.”
Helping the community plan ahead is exactly what the Park ohana is doing, turning their tragedy into a resource for the public. The family has created a non-profit organization called Safe Ride Hawaii, a local ridesharing service.
“It’s to really just give no one the excuse to drive under the influence anymore so we provide the service of taking you and your car home for $2 per mile,” Park said.
The family hopes to carry on Park’s legacy by preventing other families from suffering a similar loss.
“I feel her spirit on our side when we’re doing Safe Ride Hawaii and each time we do an event or we drive someone home. I think she would be really proud,” Park said.
For more information on Safe Ride Hawaii, click here.