CORRECTION: Officers responded to a 4:18 p.m. call. An earlier version of the story had an incorrect time. The Tribune-Herald regrets the error.
A 71-year-old Waimea man is dead and a well-known Hilo entertainer injured after a two-vehicle head-on collision Tuesday afternoon on Saddle Road, aka Daniel K. Inouye Highway.
Police haven’t released the name of the man who died pending notification of his family.
The injured man was identified in a police log as 51-year-old Ricky Alaniz of Hilo, a singer-guitarist and member of the group Mokuleo.
Officers responding to a 4:18 p.m. call determined that a westbound 2010 Mazda sedan driven by the Waimea man crossed the center line of the highway between the 25- and 26-mile markers and collided head-on into a eastbound 2018 Nissan pickup truck driven by Alaniz.
The driver of the Mazda sedan was taken by ambulance to the Hilo Medical Center where he was pronounced dead at 5:48 p.m.
Alaniz was flown by a Pohakuloa Training Area helicopter to Hilo Medical Center, where he was admitted and remains in stable conditions.
News that Alaniz was involved in the wreck spread quickly via social media with numerous people, including entertainers Bruddah Waltah Aipolani, Ku‘ehu Mauga, Jaz Yglesias, sending thoughts and prayers to Alaniz and his family.
Police say drivers were wearing their seatbelts, and it is unknown at this time if speed was a factor in this crash.
An autopsy has been ordered to determine the exact cause of death.
Anyone who witnessed the crash is asked to call Officer Clarence Acob at 961-2329. Those who prefer anonymity may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300.
This is the 16th official traffic fatality this year compared to 20 at this time last year.
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