Speed, inattention factors in fatal Big Island crash, police say

Feb. 27—Hawaii island police believe speed and inattention were factors in a single-vehicle crash that killed a 41-year-old man in Pahoa Sunday.

The crash occurred on Highway 137 near the 13 mile marker shortly after 7:35 p.m.

Police said a 2005 Nissan Frontier pickup truck was traveling south on the highway when it veered into the right shoulder and struck an embankment.

The truck went airborne and struck a tree, police said.

The driver, a 41-year-old Pahoa man, was unresponsive at the scene and taken to the Hilo Medical Center where he was later pronounced dead. Positive identification is pending notification of next of kin.

An autopsy is expected to be performed to determine the exact cause of death.

The passenger, a 44-year-old Pahoa woman, sustained minor injuries in the crash and was taken to a hospital for treatment.

Police had temporarily closed the highway between the 13 and 14 mile markers to investigate. The roadway reopened sometime before 11:40 p.m.

The East Hawaii Traffic Enforcement Unit has initiated a coroner's inquest and is continuing their investigation.

This is the fifth traffic-related fatality on Hawaii island compared to eight at the same time last year.

Anyone who may have witnessed the crash is asked to contact officer Clifford Antonio at 808-961-2339 or email Clifford.Antonio@HawaiiCounty.gov.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 808-961-8300.