LIHU’E — Poor driving conditions created by a downpour was primarily blamed
for the death of a 36-year-old Kekaha man in a fiery auto collision, according
to a Kaua’i police investigation.
“We believe the heavy rains were a
significant factor in causing the traffic crash,” said Lt. Stan Koizumi, who
heads KPD’s Traffic Division.
The collision between a vehicle and a Kaua’i
County bus occurred on Kaumuali’i Highway in Kaumakani on June 26 .
to the collision, an Isuzu multi-purpose vehicle driven by the victim, Henry
Soares, apparently spun on the road and crashed into the county vehicle,
“We don’t know how many times, but the collision was between
the rear end (of the vehicle) and the front side of the bus,” Koizumi
The investigation showed the bus driver, who was not identified, was
not responsible for the crash, Koizumi said.
Koizumi said he will forward
the findings of the crash investigation to the county prosecutor’s office for
County prosecutors will determine whether to bring charges against
the bus driver, Koizumi said.
Following the crash, the driver was placed on
administrative leave pending results of standard-procedure, post-accident
alcohol and drug testing.
The tests done by police and the county
transportation agency proved negative, indicating the driver was clear to
return to work.
The bus driver was distraught over the incident, according
to Beth Tokioka, the public information officer for the county.
the crash, the driver of the bus and six passengers, all unidentified, were
taken to Kaua’i Veteran Memorial Hospital for treatment and were
In the incident, Soares’ vehicle was headed east on the highway
to Lihu’e at 6:45 p.m. when it collided with the westbound bus, police
The impact drove Soares’ vehicle back into the eastbound lane to
Lihu’e and against a guardrail, where a fire started and engulfed the vehicle,
in which Soares was trapped.
A Filipino man jumped out of the car at the
scene and, risking his own life, tried to pull Soares out of the burning
vehicle, according to an eyewitness, Eleanor M. Seeley of Waimea.
who was two vehicles behind the bus at the time of the accident, said the man,
whose identity is not known, apparently ignored the possibility the bus could
have caught on fire and exploded.
She said the rainy conditions greatly
reduced visibility for motorists, and that she nearly lost control of her
vehicle while applying the brakes to slow down.
Staff writer Lester
Chang can be reached at 245-3681, ext. 225 or via E-mail at