Lawsuit filed in fatal 2012 Kona crash


The family of a man killed in April when he crashed his motorcycle on Henry Street is suing the county, state and two contractors claiming negligence and callousness for the safety of motorists.

The placement of a concrete barrier during work at the intersection of Henry Street and Palani Road caused unreasonable risk of harm and was unreasonably dangerous to motorists using Henry Street, including Caleb Wolfson who was killed in the April 12 crash, alleges the suit filed Jan. 15 by Maui-based injury attorneys James Krueger and Cynthia Wong.

The suit was filed on behalf of Wolfson’s estate, which includes his mother, Mary Wolfson, his two minor children and their mother, Jamie Robertson.

The suit claims defendants Hawaii County, the State of Hawaii, Nan Inc., and CTS Earthmoving, along with other unnamed parties, did not adequately warn motorists using Henry Street that a barrier had been placed in the eastbound lanes.

Krueger said warnings were placed at the intersection of Henry Street and Queen Kaahumanu Highway and just 7 feet before the barrier. He added two black and yellow striped warning devices were in the area, however, their blinking lights were not working.

Krueger also said the incident occurred the first or second night eastbound traffic on Henry Street was restricted.

“The conduct of defendants, and/or any of them, was negligent, stupid, inconsistent with applicable principles of road safety, and indicative of a callous disregard of the safety of motorists proceeding on Henry Street,” the suit claims.

Corporation Counsel Lincoln Ashida said Thursday the county had included an indemnity, or liability, clause in its contract with the construction companies. The county subsequently tendered the case to the companies.

According to police, on April 11, around 10:22 p.m., Wolfson was riding a 2006 Yamaha motorcycle eastbound on Henry Street when he apparently struck a concrete barrier and was ejected from the bike. A helmet was found at the scene; however, police were unable to determine if he was wearing it at the time of the crash.

Wolfson was transported after the crash to Kona Community Hospital where he died early on April 12, according to police. Police also indicated that alcohol may have been involved in the crash.

The suit seeks unlisted damages for mental or physical pain and suffering by Caleb Wolfson prior to his death; medical expenses; funeral and burial bills; lost earning capacity; loss of enjoyment of life, activities and expectancy. Further, the suit seeks damages for the pain and suffering of Wolfson’s relatives.