Man dead, wife hospitalized after crash on Pali Highway - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Man dead, wife hospitalized after crash on Pali Highway

NUUANU, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

A Honolulu man was killed and his wife taken to the hospital in critical condition after a horrific crash on the Pali Highway Thursday morning.

The accident happened on the town side of the tunnels on the Pali Highway.  Both vehicles involved were driving toward Honolulu but wound up in the Kailua bound direction.  The accident location has brought up safety concerns about making a U-turn on the Pali and police want the rules changed so only authorized cars can make a U-turn.

Just before 9:00 a.m the Windward Side Recovery and Towing tow truck came out of the Pali tunnels and was making a U-turn to head back toward Kailua.  However, police believe the long flat bed truck was sticking out into traffic.

The Toyota Matrix driving behind it rammed into it causing significant damage.  The driver, 83 year old Herbert Muraoka of Honolulu, died at the scene.

"A female also elderly possibly the driver's wife was taken to the Queen's Medical Center in extreme critical condition," said Lt. Bobby Towne, Honolulu Police Department.

Marjorie Muraoka is now listed as being in fair condition.

The tow truck driver was not hurt.

Speed and alcohol don't appear to be involved but police will test the tow truck driver's blood alcohol level just in case.

It is unknown why he was turning around right there, especially considering his truck is estimated at more than 30 feet long.

"You can make a U-turn there. Again though the tow truck is a rather long one so we'll take that into fact and complete our measurement and investigation," said Lt. Towne.

While legal, it can be dangerous to turn around there. Honolulu Police have already made a request with the State Department of Transportation to put up a sign saying only authorized vehicles are allowed to U-turn at that spot.

As for the victims they were coming out of the tunnel on the incline of the hill where line of sight with the truck could have been limited.

"They may not have seen it. I can't speak for them but at this point they may just not have seen the tow truck sticking out into the roadway," said Lt. Towne.

All lanes on the Pali Highway were closed for nearly three hours so officers could investigate.  Police have opened negligent homicide and injury cases on the tow truck driver.

The state will research the U-turn access and check on the rules.  If there isn't opposition they could have the sign up limiting U-turns in a few weeks.

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