Man who died in head-on collision identified

BIG ISLAND (HawaiiNewsNow) - A Hilo man is dead following a two-vehicle crash on Hawaii Belt Road Sunday night.

According to officials, 41-year-old John R. Lewis Jr. of Pepe'ekeo was traveling north on Hawaii Belt Road near the 11-mile marker when he crossed the centerline and collided with an SUV carrying five people inside.

Fire personnel transported Lewis and the driver of the SUV, a 43-year-old Hilo man, and his passengers to the Hilo Medical Center.

The passengers in the SUV were four females ages 44, 18, 13, and four. They were all treated for minor injuries.

Lewis was pronounced dead at 10:35 p.m.

According to police, he was not wearing a seatbelt.

It is unknown at this time if speed was a factor in the crash, however, officials say alcohol was a factor.

A negligent homicide investigation has been opened and an autopsy has been ordered to determine the exact cause of death.

This is the 14th traffic fatality on the Big Island this year, compared to 18 at the same time last year.

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