Drivers die in Paia, Kihei

Two drivers who lost control of their vehicles were killed in separate traffic crashes Sunday night in Paia and early Monday in Kihei, police said.

Police said speed and alcohol use were suspected to be factors in both collisions, which occurred about 5-1/2 hours apart. The traffic death toll in Maui County rose to 12 this year, compared with eight at the same time last year.

The Paia crash occurred at 9:26 p.m. on Baldwin Avenue west of Ike Drive.

Police said 30-year-old Kawika Kahakauwila was driving a black 1996 Toyota Tacoma downhill on Baldwin Avenue when he lost control of the vehicle, left the roadway and hit a tree.

The Paia man suffered fatal injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.

He wasn’t wearing a seat belt and the vehicle airbags did not deploy, police said.

In addition to speed and alcohol, weather appeared to be a factor in the crash, which occurred on a rainy night, police said.

At 3 a.m. Monday, another fatal crash occurred on Piilani Highway south of Lipoa Street in Kihei. Police said 25-year-old Terrance Kyle Morgan of Kihei died after he lost control of the 2004 Nissan he was driving north on the highway between Welakahao Road and Lipoa Street.

The vehicle crossed left of the centerline, ran off the western shoulder of the road and rolled over, police said.

Morgan was pronounced dead at the scene. A 21-year-old Kihei man who was a passenger in the vehicle suffered minor injuries and was transported by ambulance to Maui Memorial Medical Center, police said.

Both driver- and passenger-side airbags were deployed in the crash. Preliminary investigation showed that the driver wasn’t wearing a seat belt, while the passenger was, police said.

An investigation showed that the driver had received a call and was talking on a cellphone when the crash occurred, said Lt. Ricky Uedoi, commander of the police Traffic Section.

“People need to be more careful, especially when the roads are wet,” Uedoi said. “People should drive extra cautiously and slow down when visibility may hamper your driving.”