Tree Tunnel highway accident report is updated

A final police report affirmed that a two-vehicle crash Sept. 27 near the tree tunnel and Kaumuali’i Highway was caused after the driver of a westbound vehicle crossed the center line and smashed into an oncoming 1986 red Dodge Ram pickup truck.

Police learned that the car’s driver of a 1998 blue Ford Escort, a 48-year-old Kalaheo woman, had taken prescription cough syrup that could cause drowsiness.

According to the police report, witnesses saw the car weaving along the roadway from the intersection of Kalepa Street (near Kukui Grove Shopping Center) and Kaumuali’i Highway and had nearly hit several eastbound cars.

A woman who had been one car behind from Kalepa Street said she tried to pull alongside just before Halfway Bridge after the woman swerved back onto the roadway and almost hit a stop sign by the quarry, but almost got hit. She made a left turn onto Maluhia Road (tree tunnel), and she didn’t remember seeing the car’s brake lights come on as it crossed the line and hit the truck.

The driver of the Ram said he was headed to work in Kapa’a and just before the tree tunnel, a blue car crossed the centerline. He pulled to the right but could not avoid the other car, according to the police report.

Both vehicles sustained major front-end damages, estimated at more than $3,000 each. Both drivers were transported to the Wilcox Memorial Hospital emergency room for treatment.

Police noted that the woman in the car seemed to be pinned under the steering column and the truck’s windshield seemed to be damaged from the driver’s head hitting it.

The woman has been at Wilcox Memorial Hospital since the crash, and is listed in fair condition.

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