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Pepe'ekeo Information Update for June 18th, 2022

One person was fatally injured in a two-vehicle collision on Highway 19 (Hawai'i Belt Road) in Pepe'ekeo, South Hilo Saturday afternoon (June 18th).

Published by: HIRSC - Hawai'i Island (Hōlualoa) Team

The Hawai'i Fire Department (HFD) along with the Hawai'i Police Department (HPD) responded to a report of a two-vehicle collision on Highway 19 (Hawai'i Belt Road) in Pepe'ekeo, South Hilo Saturday afternoon (June 18th).

The initial call came in at 3:47 pm Saturday afternoon and HFD Crews from the Central, Haihai, and Waiākea Fire Stations along with HPD Officers from the South Hilo Patrol and Traffic Enforcement Unit (TEU) responded to the scene located on Highway 19 on the Wai'a'ama Stream Bridge in Pepe'ekeo, South Hilo.

Upon the arrival of emergency crews, reports came in that two pickup trucks (described as a tan Dodge Ram and a white Toyota Tacoma) collided head-on on Highway 19, causing Dodge Ram to overturn and trapping the driver (described as a male with age not disclosed). The driver of the Toyota Tacoma (also described as a male with age not disclosed) was reported to be entrapped and suffered traumatic injuries as a result of the collision. Bystanders provided basic medical care until emergency crews arrived at the scene.

Once at the scene, HFD crews immediately work to extricate the male operator within the Dodge Ram and also the male operator of the Toyota Tacoma. Once the male within the Dodge Ram was extricated, HFD Medic immediately continued with medical treatment and was later transported to the Hilo Medical Center in serious condition. The male operator of the Toyota Tacoma was later pronounced DOA at the scene.

Following the pronunciation by HFD Medic, HPD Officers immediately closed Highway 19 for several hours and rerouted traffic onto Old Māmalahoa Highway (or Onomea Scenic Route) while HPD Officers from TEU conducted their on-scene investigation into the collision.

This is the 20th traffic fatality to occur on Hawai'i Island Roadways in 2022. Four of the twenty traffic fatalities occurred within the last week. One fatality that was initially counted was later reclassified as medical and was since removed from the official count.

HIRSC Team would like to remind all motorists on Hawai'i Island to exercise caution on our roadways, obey traffic laws and speed limits, don't drink and drive, and also drive defensively. Together with those simple practices, we can help make our roadways safer again.

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