2-car crash claims Kalaheo man

A 23-year-old Kalaheo man died Wednesday night in a two-car crash in Koloa, and a 22-year-old Koloa man involved in the crash is in stable condition at The Queen’s Medical Center on O‘ahu, according to county officials.

Rogelio Cesario, the deceased, was heading westbound in a Toyota sedan on Koloa Road near mile marker 3 at around 8:22 p.m. when he crossed the centerline and struck a Toyota pick-up driven by J. Paul Lee-Hornstine, a press release states. There were no passengers in either vehicle.

Erik Skinner, a former paramedic traveling south toward the winding section of Koloa Road known as the “S curves,” about 150 to 200 feet behind the pick-up truck, saw the collision occur and was the first to arrive on the scene.

Skinner said Cesario was pinned inside his “totaled” yellow Toyota Celica Supra but was still alive and conscious in the moments following the crash. When Skinner reached inside the car to take Cesario’s pulse and shined a flashlight, the driver “perked up” and asked weakly for help.

“I was talking to him, he even got his name out to me. I was telling him he’s gonna be OK,” Skinner said in a phone interview yesterday. “When I touched him, he twitched a little bit, and when he took a third breath of air, I knew he was gone.

“He died right in front of me. I was taking his pulse when he took his last breath of life. It shook me up because I haven’t seen it in a while,” said Skinner, who served as a paramedic for more than eight years about a decade ago. “It brought back a lot of memories for me.”

Cesario is the 11th traffic fatality on Kaua‘i this year.

Attorney Mark Zenger, who had been traveling with Skinner, called 911 and attempted to locate Lee-Hornstine, who had climbed out of the window of the red Toyota Tacoma pick-up truck, now on its side and smoking, because he feared it would explode.

After being found in a ditch beside the road and calmed down, Lee-Hornstine complained of back pain and numbness in his face and head, which had suffered minor lacerations, Zenger said.

Lee-Hornstine was taken to Wilcox Hospital for treatment and was later airlifted to The Queen’s Medical Center for further treatment. A spokeswoman for Queen’s confirmed his stable condition yesterday afternoon but declined to comment on specific injuries.

Cesario was confirmed as an employee of the Koloa Big Save grocery store but it is not known if he was working Wednesday evening or if he was heading west, in the direction of both the store and his residence from the spot of the accident, for some other reason.

Skinner and Zenger said they believed both Cesario and Lee-Hornstine had been speeding at the time, and they said the “blind curve” may have hampered Lee-Hornstine’s ability to avoid Cesario’s vehicle.

The county statement said police believe speed was a contributing factor in the crash. Kaua‘i Police Department officials are continuing their investigation of the incident.

• Michael Levine, staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 252) or via e-mail at mlevine@kauaipubco.com


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, send us an email.