LAWA’I – A 21-year-old Kalaheo man was critically injured in an after-work rush-hour motor vehicle accident Thursday near the Menehune Food Mart.
The victim was driving a compact Dodge pickup truck, and was sideswiped by an east-bound full-size Ford truck while attempting a left turn from Oyama Road onto Kaumuali’i Highway.
The victim was listed in critical condition at The Queen’s Medical Center in Honolulu as of 4:30 p.m. Friday.
The victim’s legs were pinned in the vehicle and Kalaheo Station firefighters had to pry off the driver’s side door to extricate him. His left leg was injured and he suffered some minor abrasions. His passenger was uninjured.
Two off-duty firefighters were first on the accident scene while passing by on their way to work. Police did block off the lane, and after-work traffic was backed up for about half an hour.
The patient was brought to Wilcox Memorial Hospital at 5:44 p.m. and was medivaced to Queen’s at 10:20 p.m.
Traffic Safety investigators are assessing whether speed was a factor in the crash. The Kaua’i Police Department has not received word on whether the driver was intoxicated, according to Traffic Safety Lieutenant Scott Yagihara.
In this type of situation, it could be judged that the person who makes the turn into traffic would be at fault, police said.
The passenger in the Dodge pickup was taken via private vehicle to the emergency room of Wilcox Memorial Hospital, treated for minor injuries and released.
The driver’s side of the Dodge was damaged, and there was some damage to rims on the passenger’s side from scraping the roadway after the impact. The Ford truck had damages to the front end, but the driver was not seriously injured and refused medical treatment.