EWA, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - A truck that slammed into a concrete pillar in Ewa on Wednesday morning was speeding before it crashed, killing both the driver and passenger, Honolulu police said.
Authorities said the white Chevrolet pickup truck was heading eastbound on Farrington Highway around 2:45 a.m. when it veered off the roadway and plowed into the pillar for the rail guideway.
EMS said when paramedics arrived on scene, they found a pickup truck fully engulfed in flames. After firefighters extinguished the flames, they discovered two unidentified bodies.
Officials said their bodies were burned beyond recognition.
Although speed appears to be a factor, police are investigating whether alcohol and drugs are also involved.
Honolulu police shut down both directions of Farrington Highway, between Old Fort Weaver Road and Kualakai Parkway, for the investigation. The highway was reopened around 8:15 a.m.
Back in 2017, three people were killed when their car also collided into a rail pillar on the same stretch of road.
Police say the driver, Ryan Tuazon, was speeding down Farrington Highway when he lost control of the car and struck one of the concrete columns near Waipahu.
Tuazon and his passengers, Joshua deGuzman and Kassandra Kim, were killed.
Sources familiar with the investigation say Tuazon was also under the influence of alcohol.
The 2017 incident prompted lawsuits by the crash victims’ families, who accused HART and the city of not doing enough to keep drivers safe.
“These are massive pillars,” said attorney Roy Chang, who represents deGuzman’s family. “Even if you were going the speed limit, you could still die if you hit one of these pillars.”
Chang says many of the rail columns are set too close to the highway without any protection.
“You’ve got five feet for a car to not make a mistake, and that’s asking a lot. These lanes are quite narrow to begin with,” Chang said.
He says back in 1980, the state and all four counties agreed to a street design manual for roadways that requires “bridge piers,” like HART’s pillars, to have traffic barriers.
“A guard rail is required, and the guard rail needs to be positioned 3.5 to 4 feet away from the (pillar). If you’re the building entity, the law requires you to build it safely, and to also build it in such a way you protect motorists," said Chang.
Hawaii News Now reached out to HART, but have not received answers to our questions.