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Pro triathlete injured during Ironman released from hospital

Updated: 
October 18, 2017 - 10:01am

KAILUA-KONA — A professional triathlete has been released from the hospital after suffering serious injuries in a collision with a vehicle on the bike course Saturday morning during the 39th annual Ironman World Championship.

On Tuesday, the Hawaii Police Department continued its investigation into how the crash, which happened around 11 a.m. Saturday. Hawaii Police Maj. Robert Wagner said the cyclist, later identified as Matt Russell, was traveling toward Kailua-Kona on Queen Kaahumanu Highway when he broadsided a vehicle crossing the highway from Waikoloa Road.

Wagner said the driver of the vehicle was interviewed and a criminal case was initiated, but the case is still being investigated.

Wagner said the vehicle involved in the collision with Russell was the second in a line of cars to cross the roadway.

“The officer signaled for the first car to go, the first car only,” Wagner stated. “The second car went through as well despite attempts to stop that vehicle.”

As the second vehicle drove across the intersection, Wagner stated, that for an unknown reason the first car stopped, just clearing the intersection and causing the second car to stop behind it.

That placed the second car in the intersection. When Russell came down the course, he broadsided the vehicle, Wagner said.

According to the Ironman Track app, Russell was 75 miles into the 112-mile bike course and had four hours of race time when he was last tracked at mile marker 76.

Russell was taken in serious condition to North Hawaii Community Hospital. On Tuesday, it was reported that Russell had been released on Monday and was resting at a hotel room.

Wagner said there were some cones in the area where the crash occurred but there were also several police officers directing traffic at the intersection. On Monday, Wagner stated there were officers at every intersection that bikers and runners went through directing traffic.

Janey Brink was a witness to the crash. She was along the highway cheering the athletes on with friends and family. She said those directing traffic were allowing cars to cross the intersection two or three vehicles at a time.

“We couldn’t understand why cars in that intersection were still moving,” Brink said.

Brink said the cyclist involved in the collision was going full speed when the vehicle pulled in front of him in the intersection.

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