Victim in fatal Kamehameha Highway crash identified - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Victim in fatal Kamehameha Highway crash identified

Courtesy: Ben Mercier Courtesy: Ben Mercier
Courtesy: Jessie Royos Courtesy: Jessie Royos
KAHALUU, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

UPDATE:
A 47-year-old man who was killed Friday during a car accident along Kamehameha Highway on Oahu's North Shore has been identified as Perenise Michael of Kahaluu.

The Honolulu Medical Examiner has not yet released the man's cause of death, pending the results of an autopsy.

Authorities say a 3,500-gallon tank full of asphalt paint broke free of the truck that was towing it on Friday, slamming into a utility pole and a rental car. Michael's pick-up truck was involved in accident, and he was pronounced dead at the scene. 

In earlier reports, the victim was incorrectly identified as Michael Trenise, 47, also of Kahaluu.

ORIGINAL STORY:
Authorities have reopened Kamehameha Highway in Windward Oahu after a bizarre accident that killed 47-year-old Kahaluu man.

"You could hear it echoing all the way in the valley," says neighbor Scott Santiago. "I thought it was an Albizia tree that fell... but as I was driving down then I heard all the ambulances."

A 3,500-gallon tank, full of asphalt paint, broke free of the truck that was towing it on Kamehameha Highway at Waiahole Homestead Road in Kahaluu about 9:15 Friday morning.

The tank slid across the road, first hitting a rental car -- with an Oregon family inside -- before slamming into a utility pole and pick up truck.

The driver of the pickup died. Rescue crews couldn't initially get to him because of downed power lines. HECO had to cut the power in the area to make it safe. Approximately 910 customers were affected.

"I hopped in my car and went down the road to see what it was and if anybody needed help," says neighbor, Jessie Royos.

The visiting family was not injured, and all the air bags in the rental car deployed but the car was heavily damaged.

About a 100-yard section of Kamehameha Highway had to be closed while Honolulu Police investigated and the company responsible for the tank -- SealMaster -- cleaned up the highway, which was partially covered by a thick layer of asphalt paint.

"It's going to be the clean up that takes the longest right now," says Lt. Carlene Lau of the Honolulu Police Department's Traffic Unit. "The product that SealMaster uses, because it doesn't set immediately, it's somewhat liquefied, so they'll have to suck it up off the roadway."

It was just a small section of the highway but it caused major problems because there is just one lane in each direction and there is no alternate route. Some drivers chose to wait it out, but those who couldn't wait, were forced to turn around.

"Nobody can get out of here right now, gotta go around the island," says Santiago, who says that would add an hour-and-a-half to his commute that would normally just take a few minutes.

A total of five Windward Oahu public schools are keeping students on campus until parents/guardians or buses are able to pick them up following the fatal accident. Access to King Intermediate, Castle High, Ahuimanu Elementary, Waiahole Elementary and Heeia Elementary, is limited.

Parents are being informed by phone about the closure.

Stay with Hawaii News Now for the latest on when the road will reopen.

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