UPDATE: Head-On Collision Near Pahala Claims Five Lives
by Dave Smith
***Updated Jan. 24 to correct number of fatalities in 2012.***
Five people died as a result of a head-on collision this morning involving a large pickup truck and a sedan on Highway 11 near Pahala.
Police said a 2012 Nissan four-door sedan was traveling south near the Punalu`u Bridge when it swerved across the center line and crashed into a north-bound 2002 Ford F350 pickup truck.
The collision, which occurred shortly after 10 a.m., caused the truck to overturn and catch on fire.
A man and a woman in the truck died at the scene, as did the man driving the Nissan and a male passenger.
A boy riding in the Nissan was taken to Ka`u Hospital and then transported by helicopter to Kona Community Hospital where he later died.
None of the victims has been identified.
Highway 11 was closed near the 54-mile marker as an investigation was conducted, disrupting traffic through Ka`u for nearly six hours.
The highway was reopened at about 4 p.m.
According to a statement from the fire department, at least one of the vehicles was believed to have been traveling at high speed prior to the collision.
The crash occurred about 2½ miles south of Pahala.
The fatalities brought the island’s traffic death toll to seven for the year, compared to none at this time in 2012.
***Previously updated at 5:30 p.m., 2:15 p.m. and 1 p.m. on Jan. 23.***