Two women died in a four-vehicle crash caused by a driver who allegedly ran a red light on a busy Maui highway. Friends identified victims as Traci Winegarner, 57, and Debra Wylie, 63, of Pukalani. The couple lived on Makani Road, just down the street from the crash site.
"They had just barely got in the truck, drove down the driveway, drove to the end of the street and died," said Brenda Robards, who lived next to the women.
The chain-reaction crash happened shortly before 10:30 Saturday morning on Haleakala Highway. A silver Nissan sedan was heading up the bypass when it ran a red light and broadsided a white Toyota truck making a left turn onto the highway from Makani Road, according to police. Investigators said the Nissan then crossed the centerline and struck a vehicle stopped in traffic. The impact sent that vehicle into the one stopped behind it.
Police suspect speed was a factor in the crash. They're still looking into whether drugs or alcohol were involved.
"It makes me really angry, to be honest with you, because it was so senseless. So incredibly senseless," said Robards.
According to investigators, Winegarner, who was in the passenger seat of the Toyota, was not wearing her seat belt. Wylie was buckled up. Both women died at the scene.
Friends said Winegarner cleaned homes for a living and Wylie worked for Oceanic Time Warner Cable.
"Traci was a very sunny, chipper, just happy-go-lucky personality," said Robards. "Debi was a more serious person. She was definitely responsible, very, very responsible. Very good person."
A total of five people, including the woman driving the Nissan, suffered injuries. Hawaii News Now has learned that four of them were discharged from Maui Memorial Medical Center. One person was admitted for treatment.