Drivers die in head-on Big Island collision
A Kailua-Kona man trying to pass strikes an oncoming Jeep
Big Island police believe speed and alcohol led to a two-car crash on the Big Island early yesterday morning that killed two Kailua-Kona men and left another man injured.
They say 23-year-old Richard B. Walsh was driving north on Queen Kaahumanu Highway when he tried to overtake a vehicle in a no-passing zone, crashing his 1995 Jeep head-on with a 1992 two-door Mitsubishi sedan traveling south. Killed in the crash were Walsh and the driver of the Mitsubishi, whom police have not yet identified.
A 21-year-old passenger in the Jeep was treated and released from Kona Community Hospital, police said. The passenger's name and age were not released.
Firefighters had to remove both victims from their cars, which were resting on the makai side of the highway. They also extinguished a fire in one of the cars.
The accident, which happened just before 3 a.m. less than a mile south of the highway's 94-mile marker, is being investigated as a negligent-homicide and negligent-injury case, said Steven Chung-Hoon, acting Kona patrol sergeant. Walsh was the only person not wearing a seat belt, he said.
These were the first two traffic fatalities of the year on the Big Island, compared with none at the same time last year. Autopsies are pending.