McKinley student remembered at safe-driving rally

Aug. 27—Related Photo Gallery: McKinley student remembered at safe-driving rally

A few dozen people, including friends and family of 16-year-old Sara Yara and Honolulu police, held a rally Saturday afternoon to remember the teenager and promote awareness of pedestrian and driver safety in Hawaii.

August is the statewide Pedestrian Safety Month, and marks six months since Yara, a junior at McKinley High School, was fatally struck by a driver as she was walking across Kapiolani Boulevard on her way to school.

Yara's mother, Chevylyn Saniatan, and others held signs at the site of the collision — the intersection of Kapiolani Boulevard and Kamakee Street, in front of the high school — as vehicles passed by.

Following Yara's death, speed humps on Kapiolani Boulevard on both sides of the busy intersection have been installed.

In April the state Department of Transportation installed a red light camera to catch drivers illegally driving through the intersection.

But there's more to be done.

The suspected driver in the fatal collision, Mitchel Miyashiro, has yet to be charged. He hasn't even made contact with the Yara family, Saniatan said, which makes closure difficult.

"The hard part is for me and my daughter. ... She wants justice for her sister," Saniatan said. "She tells me she's fine, but she hurts. I know she's hurting every day."

Yara and her twin sister, Phoebe, were supposed to graduate high school together this year. Saniatan said they had planned to go to college together.

"We're still trying to pick the pieces up. I still haven't gone into (Sara's) room," Saniatan said.

Infrastructure isn't the only problem. As the area becomes more developed and populated, the public is being urged to be more careful — whenever and wherever they drive or walk.

"As a pedestrian or even as a motorist, take responsibility for your actions," said HPD Maj. Stason Tanaka, commander of the department's Traffic Division, who was among the Honolulu police officers who joined the rally. "Be responsible in following the rules and laws of the roads. ... Take those kinds of things to heart. By following that, it can save your life one day."