East Hawaii News

UPDATE: Hele-On Bus, SUV Collision: Driver Dies of Injuries

December 19, 2012, 10:03 PM HST
* Updated December 20, 3:02 PM
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**Updated at 3:00 pm on 12/20/2012

Hawaii Fire Department personnel responded to a call at 3:53 p.m. this afternoon regarding a head-on collision between a Hele-On Bus and an SUV on Old Mamalahoa Highway in O`okala.

Arriving at the scene at 4:05 pm, firefighters found the male driver of the SUV pinned in the vehicle, which had sustained major front-end damage. Fire personnel extracted the driver via Jaws of Life, and transported him to the nearest medical facility in critically injured condition.

Multiple patients with minor injuries were transported to medical facilities. The bus involved in the crash reportedly suffered moderate damage.

The accident closed both lanes of the Old Mamalahoa Highway for over two hours while rescue and police crews tended to victims and cleared the area. Traffic was rerouted through O`okala town.

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Two fire engines, one helicopter and at least four medical units responded to the call, with 15 HFD personnel and one volunteer fire fighter assisting.

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Udate:

Police have identified the SUV driver as 45-year-old Kris Korban of Kailua-Kona.

Korban was reportedly operating a 1993 Ford Explorer heading north at 3:58 p.m. when his SUV crossed the center line and collided with a Hele-On bus that was traveling south.

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Korban was taken to Hilo Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at 4:38 am this morning.

Five passengers from the bus sustained minor injuries and were taken to North Hawaiʻi Community Hospital for treatment. The bus driver, a 58-year-old Hilo man, also sustained minor injuries, and was taken to Hilo Medical Center for treatment.

HPD stated today that alcohol may have been a factor in the accident. There have now been 38 vehicle-related fatalities this year, compared with 21 at this same time in 2011.

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