Molokai’s Second Drive-In

Big Wind Kite Factory’s wall smashed by motorist.
By Melissa Kelsey

Molokai is full of surprises, but no one was expecting the creation of a drive-in on the island’s west end – least of all Jonathan and Daphne Socher, owners of Big Wind Kite Factory in Maunaloa. But they joke that’s exactly what happened last Thursday, when a car moving at high speed jumped over the curb and the sidewalk, tearing through the hedge before it crashed through the Kite Factory storefront.

“You got Molokai Drive-Inn already in Kaunakakai, and now we have a new drive-in service in Maunaloa,” said Mr. Socher.

According to Mr. Socher, the car pushed the storefront wall inward two feet, shattering glass and barely missing two workers. The impact knocked over a heavy antique dresser, which started a domino effect to topple over other items of value.

Firefighters, police, and an ambulance arrived at the scene to respond to the accident. No injuries were reported.

The driver of the car was reportedly a Maunaloa resident and long-time customer of Big Wind Kite Factory.

“She was on her way to buy one of my quilts, and as she pulled up to the store her foot slipped off the brake,” explained Mr. Socher.

The accident caused approximately $1000 worth of damage to merchandise alone, according to Mr. Socher’s estimates. Cost of damage to the building itself has not yet been assessed. Mrs. Socher added that no parties involved had insurance coverage for this type of damage, so the Sochers along with the building landlord will have to shoulder losses and building repair expenses.

“No one can prepare for this type of event,” said Mrs. Socher.

To prevent further building collapse, the firefighters stayed at the accident scene over half an hour to help lift and push the storefront wall of the 80-year-old building back slightly to its original position, according to Mrs. Socher. The store did not miss a day of business.

“Everyone made the best of what could have been a really bad situation,” said Mrs. Socher.


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