Kainui Drive palm tree — the other side of the story

Dear Editor,

On Oct. 17 at 6:30 p.m. I went for a bike ride from my house on Kainui Place down Kainalu to the fire station. By the time I got back to Kainui it was dark. A car was coming onto Kainalu from the corner of Kainui at 1144 Kainui Drive where this beautiful landmark coconut tree has been for as long as I can recall. I was born and raised in Kailua and have always loved this tree. I didn’t realize until that night, however, that it hung over the bike lane when I hit it head on.

I was looking down to make sure I was in the bike lane and hugging the inside left of the lane because I didn’t want to be too close to the car and be blinded by the headlights. I hit the tree at the point where it was growing upward, and was thrown from the bike – luckily toward the owner’s yard and not into the street – and hit my upper left forehead and cheek on the ground. Next thing I know people are around me helping and calling for an ambulance … I was at Castle ER until 1:30 a.m. I had X-rays of my face, neck, chest and thumb and a CT-scan of my brain … I was so lucky nothing was broken but had a slight concussion, 10 stitches in my forehead and two in my upper lip.

I went back to the owner’s house the next day to get my bike, and the son told me his parents wanted to talk to me, but I heard nothing. Then on Oct. 19 they began to cut the tree. I drove down to apologize to them for having to cut the tree. I of course hoped they would offer to help with at least the co-pay of my medical bills, but no such luck. The owner then told me that he had been told to cut the tree down a year ago by the city or he would be fined. He never cut it down, and the city never followed through on their end either.

It seemed all of Kailua, who didn’t know what had happened to me was so upset that the tree had been cut down. Then came the owner’s Nov. 13 letter in the MidWeek Windward Islander stating that they tried everything to make the tree safe (yet there were no reflector lights on it or a flood light). The city told me (later) that they told the owners to cut it down or they would cut it and charge the owners. Neither of them cut down the tree, and I hit it. Both were negligent and I will pay the price. Auwe!

This could have been way worse: Sometimes a tree just has to be cut down.

Wendy Erickson