Grim milestone: 2 separate crashes bring statewide traffic fatalities to 101

The latest deaths come amid a statewide traffic safety campaign.

Grim milestone: 2 separate crashes bring statewide traffic fatalities to 101
The spike in traffic deaths in 2018 is alarming police, lawmakers and community members.

HAWAII (HawaiiNewsNow) - Some 101 people have died in traffic accidents across the state so far this year, with the latest fatality happening Monday morning.

Hawaii Island police said a 26-year-old motorcyclist died after he was struck and killed on Kuakini Highway, just south of Higashihara Park in Kailua-Kona.

Police identified him as Oliver Seitz, of Holualoa.

Officials said a 2005 Toyota sedan travelling northbound on the highway struck Seitz who was walking within the road.

Emergency crews responded and transported Seitz to the Kona Community Hospital in critical condition where he later died.

The driver of the Toyota sedan was also taken to the hospital for injuries and later released.

Police do not believe speed or alcohol were factors in the crash. An autopsy has been ordered to determine Seitz’s exact cause of death.

For Hawaii Island, this is the 27th traffic fatality this year compared to 28 this time last year.

And Oahu, there was another traffic death over the weekend.

Honolulu police said a 20-year-old man died at the scene of a fiery motorcycle crash late Saturday night.

Video of Saturday's crash shared with Hawaii News Now shows the motorcycle in flames on the side of the freeway.
Video of Saturday's crash shared with Hawaii News Now shows the motorcycle in flames on the side of the freeway. (Instagram/@_Kainoaaaa (Kainow Oroc-Shuptrine))

He has since been identified as Timothy Montague of Wahiawa.

Police said Montague was heading west on the freeway just after 11 p.m. when he lost control of his motorcycle near the Kualakai Parkway off-ramp.

He was ejected from the bike and crashed into a metal guardrail. Upon impact, police said he landed behind the guardrails.

Video shared with Hawaii News Now shows the bike on fire in the left shoulder of the freeway as firefighters and other emergency crews responded.

Police do believe that Montague was wearing a helmet during the time of the accident.

Police added that speed appears to be a factor, but it is unknown if drugs or alcohol were involved.

Anyone who may have witnessed the crash is asked to call HPD’s Traffic Division at 723-3413.

This marks Oahu’s 58th traffic fatality of 2018. During this time last year, there were 36 fatalities on Oahu roads.

Adding the latest accidents, the statewide total of traffic-related fatalities has reached 101.

The last few months has seen a spike in pedestrian fatalities, which is alarming community members and lawmakers.

One Honolulu City Councilwoman is encouraging the city to adopt a new traffic safety initiative in hopes of drastically decreasing the traffic deaths.

Hawaii News Now previously reported that Councilwoman Ann Kobayashi brought forth the idea of Vision Zero, a program that would redesign streets in the interest of safety.

“We have to make our city safe so that these accidents can be prevented. It’s not just the fatalities, there are a lot of injuries, and those are really a hardship for many people and their families,” Kobayashi said last month.

The death toll on Hawaii roads hit 100 Saturday night.
The death toll on Hawaii roads hit 100 Saturday night. (Hawaii News Now/File)

The city is also continuing their ‘Complete Streets’ mission, which makes roads pedestrian and bicyclist-friendly.

The next area to undergo the complete streets change is in Pearl City, specifically Hoolaulea Street, Hoomalu Street and Waimano Home Road.

Honolulu police have also increased traffic enforcement, staging plainclothes officers at crosswalks, ticketing drivers who don’t pay attention to pedestrians.

Despite the increased efforts at enforcing traffic safety, officials are reminding drivers that the best safety practices start behind the wheel: Slow down, pay attention to the road and pause for pedestrians.

This story may be updated.

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