Rangers respond to reports of apparent hit-and-run on Mauna Kea Access Road

Rangers respond to reports of apparent hit-and-run on Mauna Kea Access Road

A University of Hawaii spokesperson on Friday confirmed that rangers with the Office of Mauna Kea Management have responded to reports of an apparent hit-and-run crash on the mountain's summit access road.

Officials say a group of protesters were walking on the access road at around 6:00 a.m. on Friday when one person was allegedly hit by a vehicle's side-view mirror.

The owner of the vehicle was not immediately known

. The road remains closed to public access vehicles, but vehicles in-use telescope and observatory employees are still allowed to drive on the road.

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School officials say park rangers brought the individual down the mountain and encouraged the person call 911. The individual did not appear to have suffered serious injuries, and it was not immediately known whether the person actually called emergency responders after the incident. 

A spokesperson with the Department of Land and Natural Resource's DOCARE (Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement) confirmed to Hawaii News Now on Friday morning that crews were responding to a situation at Mauna Kea, but declined to comment on the specifics involving that situation.

University of Hawaii officials say it is not illegal for pedestrians to walk on the access road, despite the indefinite closure that was announced on Thursday. Hiking trails on Mauna Kea remain open despite the closure to the access road, and those trails intersect with the access road at several points. 

Earlier on Friday, an employee with the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope told Hawaii News Now that protesters had spent the early morning hours on Friday building another ahu, or rock altar, along the summit access road nearly a mile upslope of the visitor's center.

University of Hawaii officials say an email was sent to telescope and observatory employees early Friday morning, advising them to use extra caution while driving on the access road and suggesting that they drive with hazard lights on to improve vehicle visibility. 

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