A Kaneohe teenager died recently after being pulled by a truck while skateboarding. Sadly, the teen just graduated from Castle High School, and according to everyone who knew him, was well liked and never in trouble. The tragedy highlights the use of Hawaii’s helmet laws – which currently do not apply to skateboarders.
Mike Danielson described his son, Alan, as “happy, fun-loving and caring.” According to Hawaii News Now, the 18-year-old was killed in the early morning hours of August 21st at 2:30 a.m. after riding his skateboard and holding onto the back of his friend’s truck. He simply lost control of the board and slammed into the pavement head first – without the protection of a helmet.
His father described the horrific accident scene, “[My son] was comatose, his eyes were rolled up [and there was] blood all over the place.” He told reporters that his son has been skateboarding his entire life and added, “[b]ut not being pulled by a truck or car – that’s the difference. Don’t do that!”
A bouquet of flowers duct-taped to a tree and a pair of shoes now mark the accident spot where Danielson died. The make-shift memorial went up along the same street that his father says he skateboarded all the time – a street where his girlfriend lived.
A negligent injury case has been open and is under investigation by police. According to the Honolulu Police Department, Danielson’s 19-year-old friend who was driving the truck involved in the accident could be charged. Unfortunately, Danielson was not wearing a helmet when the accident occurred.
Although it’s illegal for skateboarders to ride on the road or get towed in Hawaii, the truth of the matter is that many do. While legislation on helmet use has been proposed in the past, it has never gone anywhere. Hawaii Councilman Joey Manahan recently introduced two bills, 30 & 31, that he hopes will better protect young skateboarders by requiring them to wear helmets at skate parks and on public streets.
The bills, which Manahan says were originally written to be applicable only to skateboarders, are currently on hold and he is now considering expanding them to include other wheeled vehicles such as razors and roller blades. However, the laws would likely only apply to minors 15 years and younger, making it consistent with the City and County’s current bicycle helmet law.
Like bicycle accidents, motorcycle accidents and pedestrian accidents, skateboard accidents can lead to traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries and fatal injuries as skateboard riders are generally less protected than people in a motor vehicle. The very real consequences of a personal injury can be catastrophic to victims and their families – as Danielson’s case reminds us.
If you or a family member has been injured or you’ve had a loved one die due to the negligence of another, it’s important to speak with an experienced Hawaii personal injury attorney who can help you to recover the compensation for which you may be entitled. That firm is Leavitt Yamane & Soldner. We have represented the people of Hawaii for over 40 years by taking a team approach to serving personal injury victims in Honolulu and across Hawaii’s Neighbor Islands. We draw upon all of our firm’s skills, experience and resources to seek full and fair compensation for our clients such as medical bills, lost wages, rehabilitation costs, physical and emotional pain and suffering and more.
At Leavitt, Yamane & Soldner, we understand how difficult your situation is – no one looks forward to the legal process, particularly when they are dealing with a serious injury. That’s why it’s so important to have experience and compassion on your side – and someone who knows Hawaii and Hawaiians as well as you do. Call us today at (808) 537-2525 to set up a free consultation.