Two people died in unrelated traffic crashes Wednesday night and early Thursday.
The identities of the two victims, both men, were not immediately released.
Police said a 21-year-old Kealakekua man died Wednesday night after he rear-ended a moped with his station wagon at the intersection of Ane Keahokalole Highway and Kealakehe Parkway. Officers said the station wagon driver swerved to the right, striking a fire hydrant, a light pole and a sign, then the vehicle overturned. He was taken to The Queen’s Medical Center in Honolulu, where died early Thursday.
He was not wearing a seat belt, officers said.
Police said alcohol was a factor in the crash. They were not yet certain if speed was a factor.
The moped driver was treated for injuries at Kona Community Hospital and released.
Traffic Enforcement Unit officers began a negligent homicide investigation and ordered an autopsy.
Just after 12 a.m. Thursday, a 39-year-old Kurtistown man died from injuries he suffered when he lost control of the car he was driving and drove off Mamalahoa Highway near Pahala. The car overturned and the man was ejected. He was not wearing a seat belt, police said.
He was taken to Kona Community Hospital, where he died at 6:19 a.m.
Police said speed was a factor. They were not yet certain if alcohol played a role in the crash.
Traffic Enforcement Unit officers began a coroner’s inquest case and ordered an autopsy.
These are the 22nd and 23rd traffic deaths on the island this year, up from 15 deaths at this time last year — a 53 percent increase in fatalities.