Hit-and-run victim's widow criticizes snow-removal efforts
The widow of a Prince George's County man killed by a hit-and-run-driver as he walked in the road to avoid snow-covered sidewalks criticized the county's snow-removal efforts on Saturday, saying they put her husband at risk.
“He was such a good man,'' Catherine Rono said about her husband, Asa Fukuhara, in an e-mail to The Washington Post. “It saddens and angers me to think that all his dreams were cut short, by an accident that could have been avoided had the sidewalks been properly shoveled ... and had the driver been more alert and stopped to call for assistance immediately.''
Fukuhara, a 32-year-old electrical engineer at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, was killed early Thursday as he walked to the Branch Avenue Metro station. Police found him about 6 a.m. in the 3000 block of Branch Avenue, a block from his home. He was “a beautiful person, inside and out,'' Rono said in her e-mail.
Susan Hubbard, spokesman for the Prince Georges Department of Public Works and Transportation, said clearing the snow from the sidewalk wasn't the county's duty.
"That part of Branch Avenue is the responsibility of the state and the sidewalk is the responsibility of whoever owns the property adjacent to the sidewalk," she said.
The closest property to where the incident occurred is unclear. Part of the path Fukuhara walked is under the Suitland Parkway, which is controlled by the National Park Service.
Read the full text of Rono's e-mail to a Post reporter after the jump.
That morning, around 8:30am, I was on my way to a doctor's appointment, and was taking the same path to the train station, when I was stopped by Corporal S Ainsworth. I remember thinking that there was an accident and that I wanted call my husband to tell him about it. Corporal Ainsworth asked me if I lived at 3001 Branch Avenue (which is the address of the apartments) to which I replied yes, then he asked me what apartment number. When I said number 626, he then pulled me aside and showed me Asa's driver's license. My immediate response was, "What, did he lose it?" and then Corporal Ainsworth led me to his car and sat me down. He then told me that there had been an accident... and then said, "I'm sorry, he's dead". It took awhile for the words to sink in, and all the while, I kept on thinking of poor Asa's mom...how long was he on the ground before his body was discovered..if he had suffered in silence...
My family has since forwarded a couple of links to articles regarding the hit-and-run. I would like to add a few more information regarding my late husband.
Asa was a beautiful person, inside and out, in every sense of the word. He was a thoughtful, giving, simple person. He grew up in a small town in Oklahoma, where he and his brother were raised by his mom on her own. Being the loving son that he was, he worked his way through college because he did not want to burden his mom, and wanted to be able to provide for his mother the way she had with him and his brother.
With his perseverance, he graduated from Oklahoma University, with a BS in Electrical Engineering. He quickly found a job at Tinkers Air Force. In 2008, he applied for a job here at the US Department of Agriculture and was hired. He loved his job and always wanted to get to work early.
Asa was a Sooners loyalist through and through. Though he was not an athlete himself, he lived and breathed sports.
Asa was a very loving and dependable son, and a caring brother. He never failed to visit his mom for Christmas.
He was such a good man...it saddens and angers me to think that all his dreams were cut short, by an accident that could have been avoided had the sidewalks been properly shoveled... and had the driver been more alert and stopped to call for assistance immediately...
-- Hamil R. Harris
Christopher Dean Hopkins
February 20, 2010; 6:34 PM ET
Categories: Pr. George's , Unsolved
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