Friday, Dec. 08, 2023 |
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A man is dead following a Saturday morning crash on Highway 19 in Papaaloa.
Responding to the 9:37 a.m. report, police determined the man was operating a Ford Edge SUV and traveling north on the highway when the vehicle appeared to have veered onto the right shoulder while approaching Nanue Bridge, according to the Hawaii Police Department.
The driver then proceeded north off the cliff, striking the bridge’s support column before coming to a rest in the ravine below, police said. According to the Hawaii Fire Department, which assisted in the operation, personnel had to be lowered to the crash scene with the use of Chopper 1.
At the time of the collision, the area of mile marker 19 did not appear to be wet, however, it had been overcast in the area.
The state Department of Transportation will conduct its own investigation in further assessing the damage to the bridge, which has been approved to be open to all traffic at this time.
A man, believed to be the vehicle driver, was located at the scene unresponsive. He was transported to Hilo Medical Center where he was pronounced dead at 2:02 p.m.
An autopsy has been ordered to determine the exact cause of death. Police are awaiting notification of next of kin before publicly identifying the victim.
Police believe that speed is a primary factor in this collision. Further investigation will be conducted relative to any additional contributing factors.
Anyone who may have witnessed the accident or who has information should contact Officer Blayne Matsui at (808) 961-2339 or via email Blayne.Matsui@hawaiicounty.gov. Those who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at (808) 961-8300.
This is the seventh fatal traffic collision of 2022 compared to three fatal traffic collisions during this same time period last year.
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