PEPEEKEO, Hawaii: The Hawaii County Police Department has issued this media release about a fatal crash on the Hamakua Coast on Sunday. The incident closed Highway 19 between Pepeekeo and Honomu for a few hours on Sunday evening into Monday morning.
UPDATE (2:30 p.m. July25) : A 41-year-old man who died Sunday (July 24) from injuries he sustained in a two-vehicle crash on the Hawai’i Belt Road (Route 19) in Pepe’ekeo has been identified as John R. Lewis Jr. of Pepe’ekeo.
A 41-year-old Hilo man died Sunday (July 24) from injuries he sustained in a two-vehicle crash on the Hawai’i Belt Road (Route 19) .5 miles north of the 11-mile marker in Pepe’ekeo.
Responding to a 9:41 p.m. call, South Hilo Patrol and Traffic Enforcement Unit officers determined that the man who died was operating a 1996 Infinity four-door sedan and traveling north on the Hawai’i Belt Road when he crossed the centerline and collided with a 2005 Honda multi-purpose vehicle traveling south.
Fire Rescue personnel took the driver of the Infinity and the driver of the Honda, a 43-year-old Hilo man, and his passengers, all females, ages 44, 18, 13 and 4, to Hilo Medical Center.
The driver of the Infinity was pronounced dead at 10:35 p.m. He was not wearing a seat belt.
The occupants of the Honda were all being treated for minor injuries.
It is unknown at this time if speed was involved but alcohol was a factor in this crash.
Traffic Enforcement Unit officers have initiated a negligent homicide investigation and have ordered an autopsy to determine the exact cause of death.
This is the 14th traffic fatality on the Big Island this year compared with 18 at this time last year.