Survivors of fatal Kakaako crash sue officer, city

Survivors of the horrifying pedestrian crash in Kakaako that killed three people have filed a lawsuit. It includes the suspect who was behind the wheel of the truck that hit them, along with a Honolulu Police Officer.

We’re told the victims filed suit to subpoena the full police report that has not been released. Other defendants in the complaint are the registered owner of the truck involved and City and County of Honolulu.

On January 28tt, police say Alins Sumang was driving a truck that plowed into a group of pedestrians at the intersection of Ala Moana Boulevard and Kamakee Street. In an interview the following day, Lianna McCurdy says she was with her boyfriend Daniel Verderame and two other friends from Pennsylvania.

“I just remember hearing a big smash and then I was on the ground and there were EMS around us and my friends and I got taken to the ambulance,” said McCurdy.

Their friend 26-year-old Casimir Pokorny was one of 3 who died at the scene.

7 months later, McCurdy and Verderame have decided to file a lawsuit, which argues the police officer who was pursuing Sumang contributed to the crash. It states that Officer Sheldon Watts was looking for Sumang after he was involved in a prior crash on Amana and Makaloa Streets.

In a previous interview with Police Chief Susan Ballard following the tragedy, we asked what the policy is regarding police pursuits.

“The officers are allowed to pursue a vehicle depending on the situation, so they take into consideration the traffic conditions, weather conditions, lighting conditions, how many pedestrians are in the area. And obviously the overriding is public safety,” said Chief Ballard.

However, court filings claim that Officer Watts had his light on but not flashing and only occasionally chirped his siren.

“In his pursuit of Defendant Sumang, Officer Watts should have utilized his flashing blue lights and continuous siren immediately after Defendant Sumang fled the vehicle collisions to pull him over as required by the HPD Motor Vehicle Pursuits Policy. If Defendant Sumang did not then pull over as he was approaching the busy Kakaako area, the pursuit should have been terminated.”

According to the lawsuit, it’s unclear if the pursuit was terminated and if it was it was too late.

We reached out to the city and police department but their respective spokesperson says they do not comment on pending litigation.

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