Alcohol fatalities cost lives

In News

On the night of Aug. 22, 2010, Michael Patrick Keating was drinking at the Cantina Lounge in Fullerton with two female friends, Mai Hayakawa and Alyssa Unruh. Hayakawa was a recent Cal State Fullerton graduate, majoring in theater.

According to a release from the Orange County District Attorney’s office, the group left the bar, with Keating, 24, driving, Hayakawa, 22, in the front passenger seat and Unrah, 21, in the back seat.

At about 11:18 p.m., Keating headed southbound on California State Route 57. He entered the connector to the westbound California State Route 91 and lost control of his black 2003 Toyota Celica. The car veered off the side of the road, down an embankment and hit a palm tree.

Before the clock struck midnight, Unruh was at the UCI Medical Center being treated for minor injuries, and Keating, who suffered a neck injury, was facing charges of a felony for drunken driving and Hayakawa was dead.

Two families’ lives were impacted and changed irreversibly. The emotional trauma in this situation often includes unbearable feelings of loss and sorrow, as well as remorse and guilt. There are many victims on a variable scale of poignant levels.

Keating was charged with one count each of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence while intoxicated. He was also charged with driving under the influence, causing bodily injury and driving with a blood alcohol content of .08 percent or more and causing bodily injury with a sentencing enhancement allegation for causing bodily injury and death to more than one victim, according to a release from the Orange County District Attorney’s office.

About 31 percent of the 3,081 people killed in automobile accidents in California had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC), by weight, over the legal limit of .08.

BAC is expressed in percentage of alcohol to blood. This limit is set in Section 23152 of the California Vehicle Code.

The statistics for DUI-related fatalities and those involving severe injury in the area surrounding Cal State Fullerton are distressing.

“Our officers actively patrol out to one mile radius of the campus and initiate enforcement stops that result in DUI arrests,” said Lt. John Brockie of the CSUF University Police. “In 2009 the University Police made 131 DUI arrests. None of the arrests were on campus; all of them were in the surrounding area.”

The Fullerton Police Department made 984 DUI arrests in 2009. They also reported 38 DUI-related collisions with injuries and 117 without, said Sgt. Andrew Goodrich.

Two of those accidents included six fatalities including the collision that killed Angel’s rookie pitcher Nick Adenhart, 22; sports agent Henry Pearson, 25; and CSUF student Courtney Stewart, 20.

DUI statistics aside, the incidents themselves directly affect families and friends, especially when lives are lost.

In the orange garb of the Orange County Men’s Jail, Keating sat in the prisoner’s cage in the jail’s courtroom on Monday, Nov. 22 for his arraignment. Keating sat on bench, head down and hands crossed in his lap, as the judge set his bail at $500,000.

Keating’s father, Patrick, sat outside in the visitor’s room watching the closed-circuit television, waiting anxiously for his son’s appearance. The judge had set a bail review and the pre-trial hearing for two days later.

The concerned and astonished father walked down the courthouse hallway. In a trembling voice, Patrick said he was not prepared for the bail set by the judge. His next stop was to meet with his son’s defense attorney, Lloyd Freeberg.

Patrick hoped Freeberg could negotiate a lower bail amount because he didn’t know how they could come up with the amount that would be required to obtain a bail bond.

“He is very remorseful about what happened. He’s had trouble sleeping from pain and has been walking and attending AA meetings,” Patrick said about his son. “His friends were mutual friends (with Hayakawa) who said they’ve already lost one friend—they didn’t want to lose Michael too.”

Patrick had come from his home in Oklahoma where he and his wife had relocated from Fullerton to care for elderly parents. His wife was not able to be with her family because she had recently undergone a chemotherapy treatment. Patrick said his son stayed in Fullerton where he was a student at CSUF majoring in Japanese studies.

“I tried to get (Michael) into Woodglen Recovery [a rehabilitation facility],” Patrick said. “But because he had to wear a Halo device [to support his cervical injury] for 12 weeks, he couldn’t get in.”

On one hand, Michael Keating’s parents have been plunged into an unimaginable situation, concerned for their son’s future. On the other hand, the mother and father of Mai Hayakawa suffered the finality of the death of a child and sister, the loss of her closest ally.

“The death of Mai has been debilitating to both my parents. Life is no longer the same without her, as she completed our family dynamic,” said Cathy Hayakawa, Mai’s sister. “The pain they are experiencing is indescribable and nobody should ever have to experience anything like this. Life will never be the same without Mai.”

Cathy said she and her sister were planning a trip to Japan to visit their grandmother, who was ill with cancer. Their scheduled departure was only three days after Hayakawa died.

“I’ve lost my best friend,” Cathy said. “Mai and I have many inside jokes from shared experiences and I cannot begin to describe how empty I feel without hearing from her for over three months.”

While she was at CSUF, Hayakawa’s theater emphasis was directing. She survived the department’s cut in her junior year, one out of five who auditioned. She was also a musician, a violinist who opened for Reba McEntire’s performance at the Honda Center in 2009.

Hayakawa was also an actor, singer and dancer, cast in “Miss Saigon” at CSUF. For those performances, she also played the shamisen, a traditional and unique Japanese instrument.

In the role of playwright, Hayakawa composed a satire, “Peter Chan,” which her sister describes as brilliant.

“Her accomplishments and artistic talent have been recognized by the State of California, and we have received a recognition letter by a State Senator,” Cathy said.

Hayakawa’s family told the San Gabriel Valley Tribune that on the night of the accident, she was meeting with her theater group. Her family said she met with the group several times a week and often went to dinner following meetings.

Hayakawa lived in Diamond Bar. She had worked at her family’s restaurant, Restaurant Hayakawa in Covina, since high school.

Her sister added that the long-term restaurant patrons had watched the sisters growing up.

“Mai worked primarily on the weekends at the restaurant and she was an integral figure at the restaurant,” Cathy said. “Her personality was intriguing and she became quick friends with so many of the restaurant patrons.”

Hayakawa’s family and friends celebrated her life in a memorial tribute held at CSUF’s Claves Performing Arts Center on Sept. 2, followed by an outdoor candlelight vigil. Her sister said over 500 people attended her funeral with over 100 at the vigil.

Cathy said many of Hayakawa’s friends have been visiting the restaurant and sharing the grief with her parents. A memorial rose garden has been planted next to the restaurant. It’s a place where Hayakawa’s friends can reflect. Her friends have also made a tribute page on the social network Facebook.

“Mai and Michael were amazing friends, which makes the situation infinitely more tragic,” said a mutual friend of both Mai and Michael. “Those who know Mike know that he would have died to protect her, and the accident has put him through hell.”

EDUCATING THE PUBLIC AND SERVING THE COMMUNITY

To curb DUI tragedies, local police agencies use different methods to educate the community about the dangers of driving while impaired.

In the one-year period between Oct. 2009 and Oct. 2010, the California Highway Patrol set out to reduce the number of alcohol-involved fatal and injury collisions and victims.

The federally-funded Border-to-Border DUI Enforcement Campaign conducted nearly 240 sobriety/drivers license checkpoints and an assortment of DUI task force operations including 50,000 hours of proactive DUI enforcement patrol. This resulted in 1,900 DUI arrests, per a press release of Oct. 4, 2010.

“All of these DUI enforcement efforts serve three major purposes: deterrence, removal of impaired drivers from the road, and educating the motoring public,” said CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow in a press release. “They are all valuable tools used by law enforcement to combat impaired driving.”

Goodrich said the Fullerton Police Department has sobriety checkpoints about once a quarter.

“Their purpose is not always to arrest impaired drivers,” Goodrich said. “They hand out literature. It’s more of a public-awareness campaign.”

Within the CSUF campus and community, the University Police have participated in campaigns such as Brea’s Avoid the 10 and the university’s Titan Up the Party, as well as other awareness programs.

“We have had Santa Ana (Police Department) on campus with their DUI awareness interactive trailer, provided alcohol safety presentations for different groups on campus, and partnered with the Health Center,” Brockie said. “We are currently participating in a countywide DUI campaign.”

Although campus fraternities and sororities are housed off campus, the CSUF police work closely with the Dean of Students and the Fullerton police. The University Police also provide alcohol awareness, general safety and sexual assault information to the Greek community, Brockie said.

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10 commentsOn Alcohol fatalities cost lives

  • It is a shame you did not get any direct comments from the Hayakawa family and their feelings on their loss. How tragic it was for them to lose their youngest daughter due to someone else’s carelessness and negligence. The horrific nature at which they lost their daughter is unfortunately all to common among young adults. And to add insult to injury, the perpetrator of this crime is walking around without remorse and seems to dismiss his accountability for his actions while overplaying the part of the victim. He had a choice to make that fateful night and unfortunately it was the wrong one. Mai is not only missed dearly by her parents and sister, but by the hundreds of people she touched during her all-too-short 22 years of life, myself included. This was a very serious crime, as MADD can attest to. Michael Keating will go on to live in the community while the pain of Mai’s tragic death will go on in the hearts of those who remember her.

  • I agree with Elizabeth. In the article it says that Michael had mutual friends with Mai, but they were not the best of friends, yet a “mutual” friend said that Michael would have died to protect her? If Michael would have died to protect her, I think she would have been her really good friend.

    I understand that Michael feels really remorseful, but I just found out that Michael has not even talked to Mai’s parents. The daily titan was suppose to contact her parents but apparently they were not, just her sister.

  • This article only told part of the tragic story of this horrible accident last August, caused by one young man’s reckless and dangerous behavior. Michael Keating was drunk and behind the wheel of a deadly weapon, his car. Mai Hayakawa did not have anything to drink that night, although the article falsely reports it so. Mai Hayakawa was an innocent victim of someone who was an acquaintance only…not a close friend, as the article proposes. A close friend in this type of situation would have contacted Mai’s distraught and devastated parents to express his remorse and sorrow. Michael Keating has never contacted the parents of the young woman he killed as a result of his lack of judgment and integrity. Why didn’t Mary Anne Shults, the author of this article, identify the supposed “mutual friend” of both Mai and Michael who seems to think they were “amazing friends.” How ridiculous — Michael’s behavior before, during, and after the accident is testimony to the fact that they were hardly friends at all. I think that another article, including information from Mai’s parents (just like Michael’s father was interviewed and quoted) would be appropriate, or, at least The Daily Titan should publish a retraction of the false information printed in this article.

  • I am deeply saddened by the false claims of this article. Michael Keating only expresses remorse to lessen his sentence in court, not out of his heart. Micheal never tried to contact Mai’s mother to apologize or explain the situation. Up until recently Mai’s mother had no idea where Mai was going or why. Michael’s lack of remorse has caused the Hayakawa family so much pain and suffering. Additionally, they were never close, otherwise why didn’t any of Mai’s other friends know him? I understand Ms. Shoults was trying to write a good article, however, she should have checked her facts first. No friend of Mai’s would have claimed them to be amazing friends. Additionally, her support for the article is not even. While she interviewed Michael’s father, she never interviewed Mai’s father or mother.

    Additionally, Ms. Shoult’s should not be trying to gain sympathy for Michael’s plight because he did break the law and now he has to take responsibility for his actions. One of the kindest people i know is gone, and yet he is trying to escape his responsbility. How is that fair? I suggest the editors of the Daily Titan reevaluate this article.

  • DUI is OK, maybe but only when driving alone and driving where no other cars or persons are around like in desert. DUI with any passengers is intentional killing when he steps on acceleration pedal. That is murder. It’s not involuntary manslaughter.

    Mai is one of my best friends in my mind. She is still in my wallet. Mai’s parents are my best friends. Mai used to say to become a pastry chef while she was in high school student. It was probably because her father is Sushi restaurant owner chef and she had grown in a small room in the restaurant since she was in elementary school. She’d spent most of the time with her elder sister in the room, studying, playing, talking and helping parent’s business whenever possible. Therefore, Hayakawa family was especially close each other. They could not have lost anyone of them like this.

    She was a person who looks at your eyes a while and gives you pure smile to welcome and invite you to start warm relationship to begin with. “Pure” and “Straight” is the impression I have with her.

    No one knew that she was such a talented person in acting and producing play up until she enrolled CSUF. She was extremely lucky that there were many intelligent leaders who could find her various talent and she’d accomplished all the requests by them more than they’d expected. Her parents and sister had been so surprised by Mai’s talent on every steps on her way. Her life had just started blossom every which way she went.

    Mai’s father gave all his life to Mai. Mai was beyond his expectation. So did her mother and sister. The Daily Titan should have interviewed her parents. It’s unfair to interview one side as public media. The bail of $500,000 is too small for murdering “innocent person”. It happened in a fraction of a second. But it’s not mistake that can be allowed once it happened. DUI is such a weapon to kill people. The article’s tried to get sympathy on the murderer. He could have asked Mai to drive because she was not under the influence at all.

    He has not come to Mai’s parents for his sincere apology. I see how easy he looks at DUI from it. He thinks, “Oh, it could happen to everybody.” No, no, no, no. He’s got to realize he killed her parents precious diamond that I cannot express in words.

    Ms. Shults should know public media writers have to have responsibility to inform all the facts to readers. One could never get fair decision to write the facts if interviewing only one side. Could have got all the facts if did parents of both sides.

    Mai’s sister is now in Minnesota pursuing her PhD. While her so busy schedule, she calls her mother up every day to ease her emotion and comes back to California every month.

    Mai was my hope as much as her parents and her sister thought of her. Mai in my wallet still smiles at me.

  • All fatalities cost lives. This is a candidate for head-fail of 2010.

  • also as a clarification, mai was not intoxicated when the accident occurred.

  • I understand Ms. Shults, writer of this article tried to explain the situation as what actually is. However, how can people even come to a conclusion that this article tells a truth without a chance to have a listen to Mai’s family? Michael Keating was drunk, but Mai was not at all. He knew that he did not comply with laws and regulations while he was driving under the influence of alcohol with negligence. Why don’t he contact with Mai’s family if that’s the case that they were a “mutual friend”? This is a simple fact that the reader would like to know.

  • Reading this article makes me feel so despicable of Mr. Keating. How dare you use Ms. Shults to make this scandalous article. I heard you sent Cathy and her parents little notes and cards expressing your remorse and condolence for Mai, but many days after the incident… and still haven’t confronted to the Hayakawa family. Putting aside all this pre-trial process with lawyers and stuff, I like to ask Mr. Keating and the parents especially, has your actions and words been accepted to Mai’s family? You might not understand this emptiness that they’re going through right now. Lacking sincerity, the dear loved remains live in vain, yet has to push themselves to see tomorrow. I also feel for your struggling through life with your own situation, and of course you need your times off. However, this “SITUATION” is not cool, bro. Intoxicated and high on road, in a full-throttled car… At least you didn’t take dear Alyssa’s life away. Must have cost you fortunes of your family’s money to get by. Going back to school as if nothing happened, being a tough guy??You biggest fail, Man up and show face to the Hayakawa family!!

  • What is it with those of you that attend CSF? Time after time after time you read about someone from CSF or who attended CSF who got behing a wheel drunk and killed or seriously injured someone. Are you all slow learners or do you just not give a damn?

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