Man recounts being first on scene after bizarre — and fatal — traffic incident

A 21-year-old Keaau woman who died Monday as a result of a bizarre traffic incident late Saturday night in Hilo allegedly yelled “Why are you trying to kill me?” at the driver of a van who reportedly took off and left her dying in the street after she tried to climb aboard.

Luke Golden, who lives near where responders found Alaysha Fujiyama on Ainako Avenue in Hilo, said he was the first on scene after hearing the woman yell, a vehicle drive off and then a loud moaning sound.

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“That was her on the street,” said Golden. “She was just laid out flat. She was in the middle of the street. I just ran out there. I just kept her head stable. She had no response. She couldn’t talk. She was breathing. She had a pulse. I asked her to squeeze my fingers with her hands, and she couldn’t. I asked her to press down on my hands with her toes and her feet, and she couldn’t. No response.

“I was a lifeguard for eight years, so I know what to do in that situation. All I did was keep her spine stable until the ambulance came.”

Police say they received the report of the injured woman at about 11:45 p.m. Saturday.

According to police, Fujiyama was a passenger in a 2004 Toyota Corolla driven by a 40-year-old woman and jumped out of the car while it was in motion. Fujiyama reportedly ran down Ainako Avenue toward Kaumana Drive.

According to witnesses, a passing red-and-white tour van pulled over, and when Fujiyama attempted to board, the van abruptly sped off, with Fujiyama falling to the pavement and lying on the road.

Based on descriptions of the van, officers stopped a 2015 Ford F250 Transit on Haili Street at about midnight and arrested a 14-year-old boy for several traffic violations. The tour van was recovered as evidence, and police later released the juvenile from custody pending further investigation.

Fujiyama died at 2 p.m. Monday at The Queen’s Medical Center in Honolulu.

According to Golden, police arrived first, about five minutes later. Fire arrived about 10 minutes after the incident and the ambulance, after about 15 minutes, Golden said.

“Right when it happened, we had to stop a car coming down the road,” he said. “And it was hard to see because it was pitch black. Probably about 10 cars drove by and stopped. … Some left, some stayed.”

Golden said he spoke with people in the car Fujiyama reportedly jumped from, who told him they didn’t know the victim, but picked her up on Mohouli Street after she apparently was involved in an altercation. According to Golden, the people in the Toyota said they were taking the woman to Hilo Medical Center when she jumped out of the car on Ainako Avenue.

“They drove by where she jumped out, like, three or four times, and they couldn’t find her. And then, they finally saw her climbing up a wall by a house, like, a rock wall,” Golden said.

According to Golden, the people in the Toyota told him they then saw the woman chase the van, which stopped, at least momentarily.

“She opened the door and was yelling, ‘Why are you trying to kill me? Why are you trying to kill me?’ Then the driver drove away, and she was flat on the road,” he said. “The people that stopped in the road right after they seen her, they saw the van driving away.”

Fujiyama’s Facebook page describes her as a 2015 graduate of Keaau High School and a “full time mama.”

The incident was classified as a negligent homicide. Police are asking potential witnesses or anyone with relevant information to call Officer Jared Cabatu of the Hilo Traffic Enforcement Unit at 961-2339 or Crime Stoppers at 961-8300.

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Fujiyama’s death is the 13th traffic-related fatality this year compared to 15 at this time last year, police said.

Email John Burnett at jburnett@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

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