HALEIWA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A man was killed and four others seriously injured in a three-vehicle collision that shut down Kamehameha Highway between Haleiwa and the Dole Plantation area.
The crash happened at about 3:30 p.m. Some of the first emergency responders called it the worst accident they'd ever seen. A spokesperson for the city's Emergency Medical Services Division called it a "very horrific crash."
Investigators said the collision began with a Volkswagen. "The Volkswagen bug was traveling toward Haleiwa at a high rate of speed when it crossed over the center line and collided into the Chevy compact vehicle," said Lt. Robert Towne of the Honolulu Police Department. "The vehicle then hit the Dodge van."
The impact broke the Volkswagen apart, with the bottom half of the vehicle ending up in a ditch. Another large part of the VW ended up in a coffee field about a hundred feet off the roadway. Debris, mostly from the Volkswagen, was strewn across a large area of the highway. Police said its driver was ejected in the crash and died at the scene.
Kamehameha Highway remained closed between Joseph P. Leong Highway in Haleiwa and Paalaa Uka Pupukea Road just north of the Helemano Plantation while crews cleaned up the debris. Traffic was diverted to Kaukonahua Road.
Investigators said the crash could have been much worse. "The other vehicles all had multiple air bags which did deploy," said Towne. "Firefighters told us that a lot of the other people were actually talking and standing, but as a precaution, they did rush them to Queen's."
The four included two men, aged 23 and 21, in the Chevy, and a man and a woman, both in their 30s, in the Dodge van. All four are believed to be visitors, and were transported to the Queen's Medical Center in serious condition.
It's unknown whether the driver of the VW was wearing a seat belt or had alcohol in his system at the time of the collision.
Kamehameha Highway was re-opened at around 10:45 p.m.