HONOLULU (KHON2) — Police on Hawaii Island identified Valentine Gines Jr., of Pa‘auilo as the 34-year-old man who died after the truck he was driving collided with a school bus in Honoka’a on Tuesday, Aug. 17.

Authorities investigating the incident believed “inattention to be a primary factor in this traffic collision,” according to Hawaii police.

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The collision occurred at 4:53 a.m. Tuesday on Highway 19 near the 49 mile marker in Honoka’a.

Officers determined the truck — a white-colored Toyota pickup — had been traveling in the Honoka’a-bound lane when it crossed the center line and collided head-on with a school bus that was traveling in the Waimea-bound lane.

FILE – Tow truck hauls a damaged school bus from the scene of a fatal collision in Honoka’a, Hawaii, Aug. 17, 2021. (Leilani Leialoha photo)

Authorities confirmed both drivers — the bus driver and Gines Jr. — were the sole occupants of the vehicles that were involved in the incident. Police said Gines Jr. was unresponsive at the scene and transported to Hilo Medical Center before being pronounced dead at 9:43 a.m.

An autopsy was ordered to determine Gines Jr.’s exact cause of death and police said they were not able to determine if alcohol or drugs were factors in the investigation. The bus driver was transported to North Hawai‘i Community Hospital and treated for his injuries, according to police. 

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This is the 14th traffic fatality of 2021 compared to 12 at the same in 2020 on Hawaii Island. Any witnesses are asked to contact officer Clifford Antonio at (808) 961-2329 or CrimeStoppers at (808) 961-8300 if they would like to remain anonymous.