A man was killed Friday afternoon when he apparently lost control of his loaded fuel tanker and ran off Kawaihae Road in South Kohala.
The crash, reported at 2:04 p.m., closed Kawaihae Road in both directions while police conducted their investigation and fire personnel worked to clean up thousands of gallons of spilled diesel. The road, which connects Waimea to Kawaihae, remained closed as of press time Friday.
The man, whose age and identity were not made available, was operating the tanker carrying about 8,400 gallons of diesel fuel and headed westbound on Kawaihae Road when he apparently lost control of the vehicle and ran off the north side of the roadway, Hawaii County Police Department Traffic Enforcement Unit Sgt. Marvin Troutman said at the scene. The tanker then collided with an embankment before coming to a rest on its side off the roadway between mile markers 63 and 64, west of Waiemi Place.
The man was reportedly pinned inside the tanker’s cab after the crash. Passing motorists helped to extricate him, Waimea police Lt. Juergen Canda said. According to a police media statement, the man died at the scene.
Troutman said while police were still investigating the crash Friday evening, the truck may have lost control because of burning brakes, a missed gear or medical condition.
No other vehicles were involved in the crash, according to police, who added it was not raining at the time of the crash. No other injuries were reported.
After the crash, diesel fuel began leaking from a connection point on the tanker, Canda said. Police estimated that about half the 8,400 gallons of fuel had leaked out of the tanker.
Hazardous materials and environmental crews remained on scene cleaning up the spilled diesel as of press time, according to police. The truck had also yet to be removed from the scene.