5-year-old girl dies in collision on Big Isle
Her sister, 11, and her mother are hospitalized
HILO » A 5-year-old* girl was killed and her sister and mother driving a sports utility vehicle were injured when the vehicle crossed the center line of the Hawaii Belt Road north of Hilo yesterday and hit a county bus head-on, the Hawaii County Fire Department said.
No one on the bus was injured, the department said. Besides the male driver, 28 passengers were on board, most of them workers at various resorts in the South Kohala district returning to East Hawaii after work.
The names of the people in the SUV were not released.
Besides the 5-year-old, her 11-year-old sister was described as "seriously injured" with multiple traumas. She was taken to North Hawaii Community Hospital by the county medical helicopter from South Kohala.
The mother, described as "less seriously injured," was taken to the same hospital by ambulance.
The accident took place at about 4 p.m. in Kaawalii Gulch, one of three large "horseshoe" curves on the Hamakua Coast.
The Fire Department listed "heavy rain in the area" but said the direct cause of the SUV crossing the center line was "undetermined reasons."
County transit manager Tom Brown said the bus has a 45-passenger capacity. It was not full because passengers are typically dropped off at various points along the route as the bus heads toward Hilo, he said.
A second bus was dispatched to pick up passengers, although some made arrangements to be picked up by relatives, he said.
The damaged bus was towed to Hilo, Brown said. Police will have to finish their investigation before the Transit Agency can determine the extent of damage to it, he said.
Both lanes of Hawaii Belt Road were closed for 1 1/2 hours, with one lane reopening at about 5:30 p.m., the Fire Department said.
Saturday, March 4, 2006
» A 5-year-old girl was killed Thursday on the Big Island in a head-on collision between a car and a county bus. A headline and story on Page A4 in yesterday's early edition incorrectly said she was 6 years old.