A 20-year-old Kaʻu man died Sunday from injuries he suffered in a one-vehicle crash late Friday on Hawaii Belt Road in the Hawaiian Ocean View Estates area.
The victim was identified Tuesday as Austin L. Yurong of Hawaiian Ocean View Estates, according to the Hawaii Police Department.
Responding to an 11:10 p.m. call Friday, Kaʻu patrol officers determined that Yurong, who was the operator and sole occupant of a 1986 Toyota pickup truck, was traveling east on Hawaii Belt Road, also known as Highway 11, between the mile markers 80 and 81 and approaching the highway’s junction with Ginger Blossom Lane when he lost control and veered off the right shoulder, colliding with a lava embankment, police said.
The vehicle then veered back into the southbound traffic lane and then back into the lava embankment, rolled twice and came to rest upright, straddling the center lane markings, according to police.
Yurong was ejected from the vehicle and found lying unconscious on the south shoulder, according to police. He was taken to Kona Community Hospital and later transferred to The Queen’s Medical Center on Oahu, where he was pronounced dead at 12:39 p.m. Sunday, police said.
Hawaii Belt Road was closed to all traffic from about 11:10 p.m. Friday to 1 a.m. Saturday, police said.
Police believe that alcohol and speed may be contributing factors to this collision.
The Traffic Enforcement Unit has initiated a coroner’s inquest investigation and has ordered an autopsy to determine the exact cause of death.
Anyone who witnessed the collision should call Officer Larry Flowers at 326-4646, ext. 229.
This is the eighth fatality this year on Big Island public roads compared with 17 at this time last year.