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UPDATE: Driver of Truck in Fatal South Kohala Crash Identified

February 5, 2014, 3:31 PM HST
* Updated February 6, 9:19 AM
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***Updated 9:17 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 6.***

The driver of a truck involved in a fatal crash late Wednesday morning in South Kohala has been identified as Matthew B. Lee of Kailua-Kona.

Lee, 52, was operating a 1997 Ford F-250 pickup truck traveling south on Queen Kaahumanu Highway south of the Puako Beach Drive intersection shortly before 11:30 a.m.

Police said his vehicle, which was carrying several empty propane trucks, veered across the center line and sideswiped a northbound 2013 Dodge Dart driven by a 62-year-old tourist from Canada and carrying three other adults.

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After striking the car, Lee’s truck struck an embankment on the north-bound shoulder and came to a stop.

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A fire department spokesman said paramedics found Lee unresponsive in the truck’s seat. Attempts to resuscitate him were unsuccessful. He was later pronounced dead at North Hawaii Community Hospital.

Investigating officers closed both lanes of the highway at about 11:35 a.m. One lane was reopened at about 1:15 p.m. but the other lane remained closed for another three hours.

Police do not believe alcohol or speed contributed to the collision.

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An autopsy will be performed to determine the cause of death.

This was the fourth fatality of the year on Big Island roadways, compared with seven at this time last year.

Posted 3:31 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 5:

A 52-year-old man died today after his pickup truck crossed the center line of the Queen Kaahumanu Highway and struck an oncoming vehicle.

Police said the victim was driving a 1997 Ford F-250 truck south when it collided with a northbound 2013 Dodge Dart driven by a 62-year-old visitor from Canada.

The truck’s driver, who was alone in the vehicle, was taken to North Hawaii Community Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Police said neither the driver of the Dodge nor his three passengers was injured.

The crash occurred at about 11:25 a.m.

The accident near the 71-mile marker just south of the Puako Beach Drive intersection forced the closing of both lanes of the busy highway for nearly two hours.

One lane of the highway was reopened at about 1:15 p.m.

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