Two men died following a single-vehicle collision in the early morning hours on Sunday, February 5, 2023, at the intersection of Waikoloa Road and the Queen Ka‘ahumanu Highway in South Kohala.
Responding to a 3:25 a.m. call, police determined that a gray 2014 Jeep Cherokee, containing three men, was heading north on Queen Ka‘ahumanu Highway when it veered off of the roadway and struck a large metal traffic light post. The vehicle then caught fire, trapping two of the men within the vehicle. The two trapped men were transported to the Kona Community Hospital where they were later pronounced dead at 8:07 a.m.
The third vehicle occupant, a 27-year-old Honoka‘a man, was able to escape from the vehicle. He was transported to the North Hawaii Community Hospital for treatment and is currently listed in stable condition.
Police believe that speed and impairment are possible factors in the crash.
Autopsies have been ordered to determine the exact cause of death. Positive identification is pending via dental records and contacting the next of kin.
The Area II Traffic Enforcement Unit has initiated a coroner’s inquest investigation and is asking for anyone who may have witnessed the collision to contact Officer Adam Roberg at (808) 326-4646, ext. 229, or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at (808) 961-8300.
These are the fourth and fifth traffic fatalities this year compared to seven at this time last year.