HONOLULU (KHON2) — The Honolulu Police Department has opened a manslaughter investigation after a fatal vehicle collision that happened on Kamehameha Highway near the Malaekahana State Recreation Area.
According to first responders, the incident happened at around 1 p.m. and a man in his 30s was found dead on arrival.
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The Honolulu Emergency Medical Services said three other patients were hospitalized — a woman in her 60s in critical condition and another woman in her 30s and a man in his 20s in serious condition.
It was later revealed in a press conference by HPD Traffic Division Maj. Ben Moszkowicz that a 27-year-old man operating a white Ford pickup truck heading northbound on the highway was driving in an erratic manner weaving in and out of traffic.
As the man was overtaking vehicles he then crossed over to oncoming traffic and struck a Hyundai Elantra head-on.
The rear seat passenger of the silver Hyundai died at the scene and its driver along with the front seat passenger was taken to a trauma center. The driver then succumbed to their injuries and was later pronounced dead.
“At this point, the traffic division is investigating the case as manslaughter, this is not the typical run-of-the-mill negligent driving case,” Moszkowicz said. “We believe that the driver was reckless and knew or should have known that his actions could cause a collision of this severity, which again resulted in the death of two occupants in the second vehicle.”
The Honolulu Fire Department who also responded to the scene stated the operator of the pickup truck was pinned in his vehicle and had to be freed by HFD through hydraulic rescue tools.
Moszkowicz said he remains in the hospital with life-threatening conditions.
Witnesses have come forward to police to describe the behavior of the 27-year-old driver.
“We do have witness testimony that we believe is going to clearly show to prosecutors and the courts eventually, that this car is overtaking at least three or four other vehicles in the area immediately before the scene where they ended up in the collision killing the two people,” said Moszkowicz.
HPD stated the two cars are in evidence awaiting to be processed to determine the speed of the cars before the crash.
Moszkowicz said, “Someone coming the other direction overtaking the 45 miles traffic, so they are probably traveling 55 — 60 or more miles per hour overtaking the other 45 miles per hour traffic colliding head-on, essentially that’s the same as driving 45 miles an hour directly into a brick wall.”
The driver of the truck has not been charged, as he remains in the hospital.
Moszkowicz said, “We have spoken with the prosecutor’s office and started the process of generating these criminal manslaughter and assault charges, and hopefully eventually in a matter of days this will lead to a criminal charge.”
The Visitor Aloha Society of Hawaii said they have been notified of the incident. Authorities have not yet released the names of those involved in the crash, but they do not believe DUI was a factor.
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A road closure on the highway was announced at around 1:40 p.m. but the road has since been reopened.