KOKE‘E — Two Kaua‘i men are recovering at home after the emergency brake released on the pickup truck they were sitting in and careened over a cliff on Sunday near Sugi Grove in Koke‘e, according to an eyewitness.
According to a preliminary report, Kauai Fire Department responded to a report of a pickup truck having gone over a cliff near Sugi Grove in Kokeʻe at about 5:45 p.m. Tuesday evening. Rescue 3 aboard Air 1 responded to assess the situation. At about 6 a.m. Wednesday morning, a county of Kaua‘i spokesperson said responders located the vehicle and no occupants inside.
Wednesday, a Kauai Police Department spokesperson could not confirm the name of the vehicle owner, or those involved, but Kaua‘i east side resident Jessica Source reached out to The Garden Island newspaper with a firsthand account of the event and said it actually occurred on Sunday, May 24 when her fiance was showing the vehicle to a potential buyer and close friend.
Source said they’ve been working with a towing company to remove the vehicle since then. She was willing to tell the story, but the other three people involved — Source’s fiance and another east side couple — asked to remain anonymous.
The group of four Kaua‘i residents spent most of Sunday hiking in the Alakai Swamp area and then decided to have an early dinner at a pavilion near Sugi Grove, where they parked two vehicles on either side of the pavilion.
The two men in the group were sitting in the pickup that was for sale, and had a history of emergency brake issues. They were listening to music with the doors open, when Source said she and her friend heard a “loud POP, the E-Brake releasing”.
“Then next second the truck was rolling down the canyon with the men still inside,” Source wrote. “Vehicle did about 5-6 flips then the car stopped against a couple trees with the horn blaring. I slid down the cliff after them, pulled our friend out of the vehicle, my fiance had hit his head but could walk. I lead them back up the cliff and drove them to the ER.”
Staff at the Kauai Veterans Memorial Hospital Emergency Room evaluated the two men and cleared them to go home, directing the two families to return to the ER if needed.
Source said they reported the incident to Kaua‘i Police Department that day, spoke with an officer, and then the two families returned home and started coordinating extraction of the vehicle from the cliff side, thinking the ordeal was over.
“Apparently the KPD did not let Waimea know so the firefighters were sent a couple days later when someone saw the vehicle and reported it,” Source wrote. “Long story short, we know what happened, it is being taken care of, and these two men are extremely lucky to be alive and very shaken up. Freak accident.”