Victims identified in 2 separate fatal crashes on Hawaii Island

Victims identified in 2 separate fatal crashes on Hawaii Island

BIG ISLAND (HawaiiNewsNow) - Big Island police are investigating two separate fatal crashes that happened Saturday afternoon.

The first accident occurred around 1 p.m. near Volcanoes National Park on Highway 11.

The victim was identified as 65-year-old Paul Hernandez, of New Jersey. Officials said Hernandez was driving a Hyundai Elantra sedan in the northbound direction of Highway 11 near the intersection of Namakanipaio Campground. That's when a Toyota Scion struck the vehicle he was in. Hernandez was pronounced dead.

Police also investigated another crash on the Kona side of the island around 2 p.m.

Police said a pickup truck was traveling south on Queen Kaahumanu Highway when it veered onto the shoulder of the roadway and collided with a bicyclist.

The bicyclist, identified as Richard Topenio of Kailua-Kona, suffered critical injuries and was taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The truck driver, identified as 60-year-old Jeffrey Pelham, was arrested on suspicion of negligent homicide and operating a vehicle while under the influence. He has since been released pending investigation.

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