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Man dies in Ka’u crash

Updated: 
November 9, 2017 - 1:38pm

HILO — Police are investigating a “horrific” fatal crash Wednesday morning on Mamalahoa Highway (Highway 11) in Ka‘u.

The crash, between a southbound sedan and a northbound cargo truck, was reported at 3:36 a.m. Wednesday near the 47 mile marker on Highway 11.

“It seems as though the sedan crossed the centerline to hit the truck head-on,” said Hawaii Police Department Capt. Kenneth Quiocho.

Quiocho said the sedan was engulfed in flames when first responders arrived at the scene at 4 a.m. Responders extinguished the blaze within 10 minutes.

Upon extinguishing the fire, the remains of a single male victim were found in the sedan’s driver seat, burned beyond recognition. The man was declared dead at 8:40 a.m.

Quiocho said the name of the victim will be withheld pending positive identification and notification of the victim’s family, but noted that even the victim’s sex was not immediately determinable at the scene. Furthermore, officers could not determine the make and model of the sedan at the scene, Quiocho said, although it was later determined to be a 1999 Plymouth.

The driver of the truck, a 55-year-old Mountain View man, was transported to Hilo Medical Center and was listed in stable condition Wednesday afternoon.

It is not yet known whether alcohol was a factor in the crash.

The crash closed a section of the highway for several hours Wednesday morning. Quiocho said officers remained at the scene after the road reopened in order to reconstruct the crash scene, as well as to clear a minor fluid spill.

“It was a horrific crash; it’s terrible it happened,” Quiocho said. “It will have a terrible effect on the victim’s family; it had a terrible effect on our officers.”

The Traffic Enforcement Unit initiated a Coroner’s Inquest investigation. Any witnesses to the crash are encouraged to call 326-4646 ext. 229.

Email Michael Brestovansky at mbrestovansky@hawaiitribune-herald.com

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