Thursday, May 19, 2022 |
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A 9-year-old girl is dead and seven injured following a single-vehicle crash Saturday afternoon on the road to the summit of Maunakea.
The girl was riding inside a 2018 Toyota Tacoma traveling west on the steep summit access road when the vehicle appears to have lost control after the brakes did not respond, according to the Hawaii Police Department. The four-door pickup truck then crossed the roadway and went off the left shoulder traveling approximately 100 yards before falling into a ravine below the Visitor Information Station at 9,000 feet elevation.
At the time of the collision the roadway was wet and it was raining, police said.
The girl was one of five occupants within the truck at the time of the crash; an additional three occupants were within the bed of the pickup truck. The Hawaii Fire Department said multiple victims were ejected from the vehicle.
The operator of the pick-up truck, a 40-year-old woman, and a 33-year-old man were airlifted to The Queen’s Medical Center on Oahu. A 3-year-old boy was airlifted in critical condition to Kapiolani Medical Center on Oahu. Four others were taken to Hilo Medical Center for treatment.
The 9-year-old girl, who was located in the back seat of the cab of the truck, was also taken to Hilo Medical Center where she was pronounced dead at 5:03 p.m. An autopsy has been ordered to determine the exact cause of death.
Police believe that speed and brake failure appear to be major factors in the crash. Seatbelts were also not used, police said.
The fire department noted that because the crash occurred above 8,000 feet, the county’s medical helicopter was unable to access the scene requiring the victims to be transported via ground ambulance. A total of five ambulances responded to the scene.
This is the first fatal traffic collision of 2022 compared to zero fatal traffic collisions during this same time period last year.
The East Hawaii Traffic Enforcement Unit has initiated a negligent homicide investigation. Anyone who may have witnessed the crash or who has information should contact Officer Jared Cabatu at (808) 961-2339 or via email Jared.Cabatu@HawaiiCounty.gov. Those who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at (808) 961-8300.
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