Police ID man killed in fiery Laupahoehoe crash

  • This photo shows the scene moments after a pickup truck drifted into the opposite lane and collided head-on with a tanker truck near the 25-mile marker of Highway 19 in Laupahoehoe. (Courtesy photo/Special to West Hawaii Today)

LAUPAHOEHOE — Hawaii Island police on Friday identified the 40-year-old man killed in a head-on crash Wednesday afternoon in Laupahoehoe.

The victim was identified as Kailua-Kona resident Joseph H. Wolf, according to the Hawaii Police Department.


Police say Wolf was driving a northbound 2002 Mazda pickup truck on Highway 19 when it crossed the center line and collided head on with a southbound 2015 Kenworth fuel tanker with a fuel tank trailer near mile marker 25. The crash was reported at 1:38 p.m.

“The pickup truck was on fire when the first units responded and they extinguished that pretty quickly before it could extend into the fuel tanker. They did a good job of extinguishing it quickly and securing the scene,” Hawaii Fire Department Battalion Chief Matthias Kusch said. “It’s pretty far from any other resources. By the time I arrived, there was foam everywhere from our engine company.”

Wolf was taken to Hilo Medical Center where he was pronounced dead at 6:28 p.m.

The driver of the Kenworth tanker, a 42-year-old Keaau man, was taken in stable condition by medics to Hilo Medical Center. He was treated and later released.


Police ask anyone who witnessed the crash to call Officer Casey Cabral at 961-2329.

This is the eighth traffic fatality this year compared with seven at this time last year.

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