Kaumakani, HI — A family is grieving after losing their teenage son after he was run over by a police vehicle Saturday night.
Michael Kocher Jr., 19, of Hanapepe was walking down the street around 9:35 p.m., just east of the Kaumakani Post Office, when he was struck by an eastbound Toyota Corolla, according to the Garden Island.
The driver of the Corolla stopped and remained on the scene.
According to witnesses, all traffic had come to a stop after Kocher was hit. A woman in a car several cars behind the car that first hit Kocher, got out and was trying to render aid.
“He was alive and responsive,” the driver said of Kocher about the first accident.
At this point a police cruiser came barreling in, tires screeching, and ran over Kocher a second time, killing him.
Responding medics confirmed that Kocher had no vital signs and was presumed dead at the scene. He was later transported to Wilcox Hospital, where a medical doctor formally pronounced him dead.
Michael Starks, a close personal friend of Kocher, recalled that he was a typical good teen who played basketball and video games. He used to ramble through the Carolina woods with his sons shooting squirrels and throwing rocks.
“He was a good boy,” said Tim Oga, of Hanapepe Heights. “He had a lot of friends.”
“He was a good person with a lot of potential,” said Gabriel Banasihan, another friend. “He enjoyed learning.”
This case is tragic and while it’s not an example of cold-blooded killing by police, it illustrates the fallibility of law enforcement and the reckless attitude within their ranks.
This is the second time in just a week in which a police officer has killed a pedestrian. On the 28th of December in Franklin Township, NJ, a 10 year old boy was struck and killed by a speeding police vehicle as he walked to his friend’s house for a sleepover.
The police officer involved in the incident was placed on administrative leave pending the investigation.