Puhi man killed in crash

The name of the man who died in Sunday’s accident near the Halfway Bridge on Kamuali‘i Highway was released by Kaua‘i police yesterday.

Michael Gonzales, 42, of Puhi, died at the scene of the accident, police state in a press release.

According to the release, a commercial van was traveling westbound in the vicinity of the bridge around 6 p.m. when the driver apparently crossed the centerline, sideswiped a truck and collided with a station wagon driven by Gonzales.

The 17-year-old driver of the van was taken to Wilcox Memorial Hospital and treated, while the driver of the truck escaped harm, police said.

None of the vehicles was carrying any passengers.

Police say they are not sure if alcohol or drugs were factors in the crash, and are continuing their investigation.

Gonzales is the sixth traffic fatality on Kaua‘i this year, police said.

Halfway Bridge lies between Lihu‘e and Kalaheo near the Tree Tunnel.

Kapa‘a resident Su Haynes said she and her husband were heading westbound when they came upon the scene at 6:04 p.m.

She said two vehicles were makai of the highway about 200 yards apart.

“The collision must have been horrendous,” Haynes said. “There was a lot of glass.”

Haynes said a lot of people stopped to help, even though several weren’t sure of the danger of an explosion.

“There were people attending to the person in the van, and there were several people around the car that were distraught,” she said.

“People were running to help in whatever way they could. That says a lot about the people of Kaua‘i.”

• Cynthia Kaneshiro, staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 252) or ckaneshiro@kauaipubco.com.

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