A 52-year-old Kailua-Kona man was killed Wednesday morning in a two-car crash on Queen Kaahumanu Highway in South Kohala.
The man, whom the Hawaii County Police Department had yet to identify as of press time, was operating a red two-door 1997 Ford F-250 pickup truck and traveling southbound on Queen Kaahumanu Highway when he apparently crossed the centerline and clipped the rear passenger side of a northbound silver four-door silver Dodge sedan, police Area II Traffic Enforcement Unit Sgt. Marvin Troutman said at the scene.
The truck then crossed the northbound lane and collided head-on into an embankment on the mauka side of the highway where it came to rest, he said. The two-car crash happened around 11:25 a.m. near mile marker 71.5, south of Puako Beach Drive.
After being struck by the pickup, the 2013 Dodge Dart came to a stop in the southbound lane, nearly perpendicular to the highway. The vehicle sustained damage primarily to its driver’s side passenger door and rear tire.
None of the four adult occupants of the Dodge reported injuries, including a 62-year-old Canada resident who was driving, Troutman said. All four were wearing seat belts at the time of the crash.
The driver of the pickup was also wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash, Troutman said. Medics transported the 52-year-old via ambulance to North Hawaii Community Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
According to a prepared statement from the Hawaii County Fire Department, medics initiated CPR and attempted to resuscitate him en route to the hospital.
There were no passengers in the truck, Troutman said. No other vehicles were involved, however, Troutman said a van behind the Dodge came close, but avoided making contact with either the truck or sedan.
The red pickup truck, which sustained damage to its front end, was carrying propane cylinders at the time of the crash, Troutman said. None of the cylinders broke lose or ignited during the crash. Troutman added that Hawaii County Fire Department personnel checked the cylinders and deemed them safe.
The crash closed both lanes of Queen Kaahumanu Highway, between Mauna Lani and Puako Beach drives, for nearly two hours before police began contra-flowing traffic through the scene at 1:15 p.m. The road reopened completely by about 2:30 p.m.
Troutman said the cause of the crash remained under investigation Wednesday afternoon. This is the fourth traffic fatality on a public Big Island roadway this year.
Police have initiated a standard negligent homicide investigation in connection with the crash. Troutman asked anyone who may have witnessed the crash to call Officer Chris Kapua-Allison at 326-4646, ext. 229.