Collision hospitalizes four

A collision yesterday shortly after 2:30 p.m. sent a mother and her two children to Wilcox Memorial Hospital.

They were driving eastbound on Kaumuali‘i Highway in a gray Ford Explorer, near the Kipu Bypass, when a driver approached in a blue Chevrolet pickup from the opposite direction.

The male juvenile driver of the pickup crossed the centerline, said county spokesperson Mary Daubert, causing a sideswipe collision deploying the airbags in the Explorer and hurling its front-left wheel to the side of the road. The pickup was on its side in the middle of the highway after the accident.

The driver of the Chevy pickup was taken to Wilcox by ambulance as well.

Daubert said no one involved was seriously injured. The 45-year-old woman in the Explorer was discharged with her 3-year-old son, while her 7-year-old daughter will stay overnight in the hospital, said Daubert. The driver of the pickup was released from the hospital as well yesterday.

Traffic was backed up on the Lihu‘e side of the accident as far as Kilohana Plantation.

A Kaua‘i Police Department officer on the scene said the quick response time — police responded within minutes — would be impossible if the county eliminates take-home vehicles for officers. That measure is being considered by the county for liability reasons after recent lawsuits.

“If you take away the cars, you can’t get this response,” the police officer said. “This traffic would be tied up for hours.”

“Without take-home cars, this island is going to suffer,” he continued.

Seven officers directed traffic at the scene, just west of Kipu Road.

The cause of the accident is under investigation.

• Blake Jones contributed to this article.

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