Inaugural impaired driving checkpoint in memory of Hannah Brown held

Maui Now

WAILUKU (MAUI NOW VIA KHON2) — A tragic accident on Maui is giving birth to new beginnings as the family members join police and Mothers Against Drunk Driving for a new holiday tradition on Maui County roads.

Five months ago this was the spot that claimed the life of a 19-year-old Maui girl.

Today it serves as what will be an annual reminder of the stark realities of drinking and driving.

“We don’t want anybody to ever have to feel the loss we are feeling on a daily basis,” said Charlene and Everett Brown, Hannah’s parents. “It’s not fair. It’s very unfair.”

On November 29, Hannah Brown would have celebrated her 20th birthday, but her life was cut short by a drunk driver who was traveling in the wrong direction on the Kuihelani Highway and collided head-on into the car she was in.

“For me personally, it’s really hard,” said Charlene Brown. “Her birthday is a big deal. So especially with it being the day after Thanksgiving this year, it’s already starting to get very emotional.”

Hannah’s death on June 23, 2019 was the 11th traffic fatality on Maui.

Since then, there have been 10 more, prompting the creation of Maui’s Inaugural Hannah Brown Memorial Impaired Driving Checkpoint.

“We’re going to do this every year,” said Lt. William Hankins, Commander Maui Police Department Traffic Division. “We want to keep people safe. We want to eradicate impaired driving in Maui County. Right now our numbers are 75 percent alcohol/drug related fatalities. It’s too high. There’s too many families that have been decimated by these preventable crashes.”

Police hope Hannah’s story will hit home with impaired drivers.

“This is the real results of what happens,” said Hankins. “We see it all the time as traffic investigators. They live it.”

“There’s just something about her,” said Charlene. “I don’t know if it’s her smile, her laughter, the people she brings together, but she’s making an impact”

On Friday night, police screened 120 vehicles in about two hours, making two arrests. One arrest was for driving while under the influence and the other for driving with an open container. In the future police hope they can tow vehicles of DUI violators.

“If you get arrested for DUI, you’re going to get your vehicle towed,” said Hankins. “You’re going to pay for the fine. You’re going to have to pay for the storage to get your vehicle back. We want to get these people off the road and take away their means of transportation so that they don’t go out and kill somebody.”

Lawmakers are also trying to get Hawaii’s blood alcohol level for violators lowered from .08 to .05.

If passed, Hawaii would be only the second state in the nation, behind Utah with such legislation.

The list of fatalities now stands at 21.

“All of these people died for no reason,” said Hankins. “You know, don’t drink and drive.”

“Think about yourself,” said Charlene.
“It’s simple,” said Everett.
“And everybody else’s family,” said Charlene.

With more than 20 traffic fatalities already this year, police are saying ‘No more.’

Family and friend say it’s already too many.

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