HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A fiery crash in Makiki early Friday left one man dead and two others injured, police said.
Officials said the driver of one of the cars involved in the crash was speeding excessively.
It happened at around 1:45 a.m., when the driver of a sedan flying down Pensacola Street well above the speed limit ran a red light at South King Street, police said.
That’s when the vehicle was broadsided by a van, pushing both vehicles across the intersection and into a nearby building.
Both vehicles erupted into flames due to the sheer force of the collision, officials said.
More than 20 firefighters responded to what was initially reported as an auto accident, then a building fire.
“Both vehicles were fully involved in flames, probably about 20 feet high,” HFD Battalion Chief John Bowers said.
Officials said the driver of the sedan, who has not yet been identified, was burned beyond recognition.
Bowers said a passerby managed to pull the driver of the van out, but “unfortunately the flames were too intense for him to get the driver of the smaller vehicle out and he perished in the flames.”
The 60-year-old driver of the van was taken to the hospital in good condition.
Paramedics said another man in his 20s was also treated for burns and abrasions and that he may have been a passenger of the sedan.
Several people who live or work nearby rushed to the scene after the crash in a bid to help.
Resident Jeannie Wokasch said after the crash, she heard an explosion.
Then, “somebody was out there screaming. We saw smoke and fire.”
Susan Steenhuis works at one of the businesses that sustained damage in the crash. She said the intersection is accident-prone.
When she heard the gruesome details of the crash, only one question came to her mind.
“Why?” she said. “It’s a real waste, a real waste.”
Both Pensacola and South King streets were closed following the crash, but all lanes have since been reopened.
It’s not yet clear whether drugs or alcohol also played a factor in the crash.
The traffic fatality is the 18th so far this year on Oahu, compared to 16 at the same time last year.
This story will be updated.