HONOLULU(KHON2) — A tow truck driving down Likelike Highway smashed into 10 cars nearly two years ago.
Jim Braddock, one of the victims in the crash, is still recovering.
Braddock was working as a Sun Run consultant at the time and was driving to help a coworker when a Pinky Tows truck with a large haul slammed into 10 cars waiting at the red light on the Kahekili Highway on-ramp.
It was June 12, 2019, and it changed Braddock and his wife Tina’s lives forever.
Four others were injured in the crash, Braddock the most critical. He suffered catastrophic injuries to his brain and body.
He is now at a rehabilitation center in New Jersey with his wife.
“It’s just been obstacle after obstacle,” Tina said. “He is truly just a miracle. If you saw that car, you know no one could have survived that. And just everyday, he’s persevering and getting up and trying to fight, fight fight.”
Tina, a military trauma nurse, says she had to give up her career to care for him.
She said, he still needs assistance 24/7 even though he has made some progress.
“It’s been an ongoing battle,” she said. “His short-term and longer-term memory are not the same. He’s definitely not anywhere cognitively where he was. So it’s pretty devastating. But I’m still hopeful.”
She tries to remain positive and feels grateful for the little things.
Jim just got his second COVID-19 vaccine shot, so they were able to celebrate his 33rd birthday by going out to dinner with a few friends.
She said, it is devastating because she knows he will never fully recover.
“This has been so catastrophic for my family,” she said. “He has irreversible brain damage. That it’s, it’s just our lives will never be the same.”
The Braddock’s filed a lawsuit against Pinky Tows, the driver — Misty Mitchell — and the State.
In a statement, their attorneys Tommy Otake and Scott Mattoch said:
“This lawsuit alleges that the State negligently left a critical runaway truck ramp closed and in disrepair for months, causing permanent and severe injuries to Jimmy.”
A Department of Transportation spokesperson said a day after the accident that the runaway ramp was open for use in an emergency even though it had construction barriers up.
“Making sure that our runaway truck ramps are in working order is absolutely critical,” said Sen. Chris Lee, Transportation Committee chair.
Sen. Lee said, several bills are moving in the Legislature to make Hawaii’s roads safer and prevent accidents like this from happening again.
Tina is waiting for their court date for now, which is scheduled for Oct. 25, 2021.
“We just need a little bit of justice,” Braddock said. “(Mitchell) shouldn’t have been driving that day. The off ramp should have been fixed. This is insane that this is the amount of suffering that we’re enduring, and there’s just zero justice. We need help.”
To make things worse, Braddock said, they are also struggling financially.
Click here to make a donation to their GoFundMe page.
Mitchell, the Pinky Tows driver, was charged with negligent injury. Her court date is set for April 5, 2021.