Three people died after a car crashed into a minivan yesterday on the Big Island.

Head-on collision
leaves 3 dead on
the Big Island

A car crosses the center line
and hits a van, killing a
Kapoho man and two tourists

Two tourists and a Kapoho man died yesterday in the second head-on collision involving multiple fatalities on Big Island roads within four days.


The accident occurred about 1:30 p.m. yesterday on Keaau-Pahoa Road in Puna when a four-door Dodge Neon traveling Keaau-bound crossed the center line and smashed into a Chrysler minivan.

The van's 65-year-old driver -- a Kapoho resident and the vehicle's sole occupant -- was killed on impact, as was the Neon's 52-year-old driver and a 52-year-old female passenger.

The sedan's occupants were residents of Arlington, Va., and the Neon was a rented car, police said.

Police did not release the victims' names yesterday, pending notification of family.

Sgt. Mitch Kanehailua, of the Big Island's Puna station, said it was not raining at the time of the accident.

But, he said, the road was wet.

The National Weather Service issued a flash-flood watch for the Big Island yesterday morning. The area of the crash got about 0.23 inches of rain in the 24 hours ending about 5:45 p.m.

On Wednesday, four people, including a pregnant woman, died when their compact car spun out of control and hit an oncoming minibus.

The accident happened just before noon at the 20-mile marker on Volcano Highway during a heavy rainstorm. Speed was determined to be a factor.

Sheena Beach, who expected to deliver her second child this weekend, was one of the victims.

Beach's boyfriend, Arthur Kahele of South Kona, was also killed, as were his older sister and her husband.

The 12 people in the minibus, all tourists from California and Taiwan, escaped with minor injuries.

Yesterday's fatalities bring the Big Island's traffic death toll for the year to 15, compared to four at the same time last year.

"People just got to drive more carefully," Kanehailua said.

He said there's a good chance the two crashes will soon spur more police traffic surveillance on the Big Island.

It had not been determined last night whether excessive speed or alcohol played a role in yesterday's crash.

Keaau-Pahoa Road traffic was diverted through Hawaiian Homelands property for four hours yesterday as police investigated the accident.

It also took some time to remove the totaled cars and clean up gasoline from the street, Kanehailua said.

The road was reopened about 5:30 p.m.


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