KONA, Hawaii: A midnight crash at the intersection of Queen Kaahumanu Highway (Highway 19) and Kawaihae Road has killed two people and injured tow others, according to the Hawaii County Fire Department.
First responders on the scene about 20 minutes after 12 a.m. on Sunday morning say a “full size pickup truck and a compact sedan or hatchback” were involved, and that “the drivers of each vehicle had injuries requiring treatment and transport to North Hawaii Community Hospital.”
Fire crews from South Kohala remarked in the incident dispatch:
Emergency units from South Kohala including a Ladder Truck, Fire Engine and an ambulance as well as ambulances from the Waikoloa and Waimea Fire Stations responded to a vehicle accident involving a full size Ford Pick-up Truck with one male occupant in his forties versus a compact sedan or hatchback with three male occupants in their late teens to early twenties. On scene two males had had been ejected from the sedan. One was DOA.The other with life threatening injuries died at the hospital.
The fire department says the cause of the crash was “possible speed and alcohol”.
The collision closed Queen Kaahumanu and Kawaihae for nearly four hours.
UPDATE: The Hawaii County Police Department issued this media release on Monday:
A 19-year-old Kamuela man and an 18-year-old Honokaʻa man died Sunday (May 6) from injuries they received in a two-vehicle crash at the intersection of Queen Kaʻahumanu Highway and Kawaihae Road in South Kohala.
The men were identified as Kauaheaheokaua Lactaoen, 19 of a Kamuela address and Rocky P. Pactol, 18, of a Honokaʻa address.
Responding to a 12:16 a.m. call, South Kohala patrol officers determined that a 40-year-old Kamuela man was operating a 2006 Ford F350 pickup truck and traveling south on Kawaihae Road when it struck a 2000 Honda two-door sedan at the intersection being operated by a 19-year-old Paʻauilo man.
Officers are still trying to determine the direction of travel for the Honda but it appears it may have turned in front of the Ford truck.
The two dead men were passengers in the Honda and were ejected after impact. They were not wearing their seat belts.
Fire Department rescue personnel took the driver of the Honda, one of his passengers, and the driver of the Ford truck to North Hawaiʻi Community Hospital, where Lactaoen was pronounced dead at 1:02 a.m. and Pactol at 4:23 a.m.
Police believe that speed and alcohol were factors in the crash.
The driver of the Honda was arrested on suspicion of two counts of negligent homicide, operating a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant, third-degree promotion of a detrimental drug and consuming/possessing intoxicating liquor while operating a motor vehicle. Because he was confined at North Hawaiʻi Community Hospital (in stable condition), he was released pending further investigation.
The driver of the Ford truck was also arrested for operating a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant. He was also released pending investigation and was treated and released with minor injuries.
Traffic Enforcement Unit officers have ordered an autopsy to determine the exact cause of death.
Police ask that anyone with information about this crash call Officer Larry Flowers at 326-4646, extension 229.
These are the 13th and 14th fatalities on the Big Island this year compared with eight at this time last year.