Police have identified a man who died following a four-vehicle crash this morning in North Kona near the 18-mile marker of Mamalahoa Highway (Route 190) as 45-year-old Gerald Wahinekapu of Kailua-Kona.
Officers responding to a 6:43 a.m. call, determined that Wahinekapu was driving a 2004 Ford pickup south when he crossed the centerline of the roadway and sideswiped a northbound 2002 Ford pickup truck driven by an 18-year-old Kailua-Kona man. Wahinekapu’s truck continued south in the oncoming lane and collided head-on with a northbound 2015 Dodge Ram pickup truck driven by a 32-year-old Kailua-Kona man. A 2018 Dodge sport-utility driven by a 36-year-old Virginia man, sustained damage from the debris caused by the collision between the Ford and Ram pickup trucks.
Wahinekapu was taken to Kona Community Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 11:45 a.m. The driver of the Ford pickup was treated and released at North Hawaii Community Hospital. His passenger and all occupants of the Ram sustained minor injuries and were treated at the scene. The driver of SUV was uninjured.
Police believe inattention was a factor in this crash, but it is not immediately known if alcohol involved.
An autopsy has been ordered to determine the exact cause of death.
Wahinekapu’s death is the 18th official traffic fatality this year, compared to 20 at this time last year.
Anyone who witnessed the accident to is asked to call Officer Kimo Keliipaakaua at (808) 326-4646 ext. 229, or Crime Stoppers at 961-8300.