Friday, October 5, 2001

Homes evacuated
after pickup, fuel
tanker collide

1 driver is injured in the
crash near Olomana
Golf Course

By Leila Fujimori

A pickup truck collided with a 9,100-gallon capacity fuel tanker late last night on Kalanianaole Highway near the Olomana Golf Course in Waimanalo.

Although the Chevron tanker's fuel tank and piping were not ruptured, police evacuated 13 homes along the highway because of the danger presented by moving the damaged tanker.

The truck's entire front end was crushed into its cab. Firefighters removed the driver, who was taken to Queen's Medical Center conscious but in serious condition, said Honolulu Police Lt. Leonard Chong.

Chong said the driver smelled of alcohol and suspects the man was inebriated and relaxed at the time of the accident, explaining why he wasn't critically injured.

Police said the truck was heading into Waimanalo when it crossed the center line and ran into the tanker around 11:30.

The tanker driver was uninjured and there was only minor damage to the tanker itself, said Battalion Chief Clinton Wong.

"If fuel leaked out, we wouldn't have had a chance," said resident Andrew Aragon, who lives at the first house on Kalanianaole Highway going into Waimanalo from the Olomana side.

When residents on both sides of the highway saw the tanker, they ran as far back as they could go behind their houses, Aragon said.

He said he moved to his home two months ago and the previous tenants had lived there only two days before they moved, deciding it was too dangerous for their 8-year-old.

The pickup truck's bed held a 40-gallon diesel container and three five-gallon cans of fuel. A small amount of diesel oil spilled onto the highway, which was cleaned up, Wong said.

Four fire units responded to the accident.

One family of seven, including a 1-year-old baby, waited at the Olomana Golf Course parking lot. Other evacuated families went to homes of relatives and friends.

Police and fire crews waited until about 2:30 a.m. for a Chevron rig to arrive with equipment to remove the tanker safely.

Police closed the highway after the accident and opened it shortly before 4 a.m. today.

Some motorists driving from Honolulu were rerouted back over the Pali to the Makapuu end of Waimanalo.

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