Family recounts a New Year’s Eve night of terror

News

New Year’s Eve revelry turned into a night of terror for a mother and her two children in Windward Oahu.

And it had nothing to do with fireworks. The woman says she was in her car when she was surrounded by an angry mob that was celebrating by burning rubber in the middle of the road.

The woman does not want to be identified because she’s afraid. She says she was trying to drive through when the crowd started throwing beer bottles at her car, and it only got worse from there.  

Residents say revving their cars and burning rubber has become a tradition in an area of Kahaluu on New Year’s Eve. Since most fireworks are banned, they say this is just another way of celebrating. 

The woman was driving her van when she was forced to stop because Kamehameha Highway was blocked by cars burning rubber. 

“They pulled up and started burning the tires and they started throwing beer bottles at my vehicle hitting my windows and the side doors,” she said.

Feeling that she and her kids were in danger, she says she tried get by, by driving on the shoulder lane. And she says the crowd got even angrier. She says someone busted her tail lights with a beer bottle and others started pounding at her window.

“At that point my children are screaming, they’re crying. I told them to get a blanket and cover their heads because I was afraid of the glass shattering,” the mother said.

Her seven-year-old son and 10-year-old daughter did just that.

“I was very scared and I thought that I might end up in the hospital or I might even die,” said her daughter. “The scariest part was when they were pounding on the car. I could hear maybe about 20 people surrounding the car and trying to get in.”

The mother says she opened her window to let everyone know that there are children in the car. And someone tried to punch her.

“He brought his fist in to my window and he swung at my face on the left hand side knocked my glasses off. I was able to pull back just a little bit,” said the mother.

Residents say the mother hit a car and almost hit two people by the bus stop when she was trying to drive away. And that’s what made the crowd angry. But she says that’s not true.

“I didn’t hit the cars next to me. I made sure to lay on my horn and move cautiously enough that people moved out of the way. I did not hit anyone with my car,” she said.

HPD is investigating the case as an Unauthorized Entry into a Motor Vehicle. A spokeswoman says police checked the area during the night as part of regular patrols. And after receiving calls of a gathering and loud cars, officers went to the scene but the crowd had already scattered. Anyone with information is asked to call police or Crimestoppers at 955-8300.

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