LIHUE — A 65-year-old man with a reported medical condition escaped serious injury after driving off Kuhio Highway in the Lihue are on Friday afternoon.
At about 4:50 p.m. a Hanamaulu man driving a Toyota Tacoma truck was reported to be in and out of consciousness. County officials report the man experienced a seizure.
He drove onto the sidewalk fronting 7-Eleven and came to rest against No. 1 Chinese restaurant. No one was injured in the accident and the man was alone in the vehicle.
The driver was transported to Wilcox Memorial Hospital, according to witnesses. He was later released, according to county officials. Estimated damages to the restaurant and vehicle were less than $100.
Preston Leone of Wailua said he was driving north, just behind the pickup truck, when the accident occurred. It was slow, heavy rush hour traffic and he saw the truck had slowed to a stop. Assuming the driver had mechanical trouble, Leone asked his son Elia, 16, to jump out and help push the truck off the side of the road.
“I didn’t give it much thought,” Leone said. “I thought he ran out of gas.”
Then, he said the truck began to move in a jerking fashion, and slowed as it came up against the corner of the No. 1 Chinese restaurant.
Leone got out to see if the driver was OK when all of a sudden his engine revved up and the tires smoked as they spun in place with the truck against the restaurant.
Leone quickly opened the driver’s door of the truck and stuck his foot on the brake while he turned off the ignition. The driver opened his eyes and seemed alert as soon as the engine was turned off, he said.
“I said, ‘Are you OK?’, and he said, ‘Yah, I’m fine’,” Leone said. “I was just glad he didn’t hit the gas when he was 100 feet away from the building or it could have been a real tragedy.”
Leone said responders were on the scene in short order. The driver was conscious and responsive when they put him into the ambulance, he said.