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Kapulena Information Update for August 17th, 2021

One person was fatally injured and another seriously injured following a two-vehicle collision on Highway 19 (Māmalahoa Highway) in Kapulena, Hāmākua early Tuesday morning (August 17th).

Published by: HIRSC - Hawaii Island (Hōlualoa) Team

The Hawaii Fire Department (HFD) along with the Hawaii Police Department (HPD) responded to a report of a two-vehicle collision on Highway 19 (Māmalahoa Highway) in Kapulena, Hāmākua early Tuesday morning (August 17th).

The initial call came in at 4:54 am Tuesday morning and HFD Crews from the Waimea Fire Station along with HPD Officers from the Hāmākua and South Kohala Patrols and Traffic Enforcement Unit (TEU) responded to the scene located on Highway 19 at the 49-mile marker (fronting Mehau's Ranch) in Kapulena, Hāmākua.

Upon the arrival of emergency crews, reports came in that two vehicles (both being described as a Toyota Tacoma and the other vehicle a large-sized school bus) were involved in a head-on type collision on Highway 19 in the area of the 49-mile marker in Kapulena, Hāmākua. Bystanders at the scene immediately rushed to provide basic medical care to the operators of both vehicles (Operator of the Toyota Tacoma, a male approximately in his 40s, and the operator of the bus, a male in his 50s), however, upon further investigation by bystanders, operator of Tacoma had suffered life-threatening injuries and operator of the school bus suffered serious injuries and was entrapped within the bus following the collision and awaited the arrival of emergency crews.

It was noted that no passengers aboard the school bus and the operator of the bus was the only person aboard at the time of the collision.

Once emergency crews arrived at the scene, HFD Crews immediately worked to extricate the operator of the school bus and HFD Medic personnel conducted a medical assessment on both patients. However, HFD Medic determined that the operator of the Toyota Tacoma had suffered fatal injuries and was declared DOA at the scene. Once the operator of the school was extricated, HFD Medic continued with medical care and then transported him to the North Hawaii Community Hospital in serious condition for further treatment.

Following the declaration by HFD Medic personnel, HPD Officers immediately closed Highway 19 between Old Māmalahoa Highway junction in South Kohala and Kapuna Road in Āhualoa, Hāmākua, while TEU Officers arrived at the scene to begin their investigation into the collision on Highway 19.

Traffic was rerouted to use Old Māmalahoa Highway during the closure of Highway 19 and advised to use caution due to many parts of the roadway being narrow and winding.

Highway 19 will remain closed for the next several hours while TEU completes their investigation into the collision and the scene can be cleared of the vehicles. Please follow the HIRSC Facebook Page for updates on road closure status.

This is the fourteenth (14) fatal traffic collision to occur on Hawaii Island Roadways in 2021.

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