KAILUA-KONA — A man and a woman were hospitalized following a three-vehicle crash Thursday morning on Queen Kaahumanu Highway in North Kona.
Shortly before 9:30 a.m., a northbound tan-colored Toyota Tacoma pickup apparently crossed the highway’s centerline, colliding nearly head-on with a southbound maroon-colored Honda CR-V sport utility vehicle, Hawaii Police Department Officer Robert Ayau said at the scene.
A third vehicle, a light blue-colored Honda CR-V that was headed northbound behind the Toyota was unable to stop and was also involved in the crash.
The collision occurred in a 55-mph, no-passing zone north of mile marker 88, just south of the highway’s intersection with Kukio Nui Drive, which leads to the Kukio Golf and Beach Club.
“I saw this car (the maroon-colored Honda) go, come on the side of the road and everybody in front of me just wen’ locked up their brakes,” said Eric Kaipo, who was also headed north at the time behind a large truck, several vehicles back from the vehicle’s involved in the collision.
Both the maroon-colored Honda and Toyota sustained major front-end damage while the light-blue colored Honda sustained minor front-end damage, Ayau said.
The driver of the maroon-colored Honda, a 61-year-old man, had to be extricated from the vehicle by first responders. He was transported via South Kohala medics in stable condition to North Hawaii Community Hospital, the Hawaii Fire Department said.
The driver of the Toyota, a 61-year-old woman, was transported in stable condition via Kailua medics to Kona Community Hospital, fire officials said.
No additional information was available on their conditions as of press time Thursday.
The driver of the light-blue Honda was not injured, Ayau said.
Following the high-speed collision, the vehicles and debris came to a rest in the roadway, prompting the closure of the highway, also known as Highway 19, for about 45 minutes. Traffic backed up for miles as police, fire and others worked to clear the roadway and take those who were injured to area hospitals.
The road reopened to both lanes of travel shortly after 10:15 a.m.