Four killed in Honoapiilani Highway crash
Four people died Saturday night and three others were sent to the hospital in a four-vehicle crash that blocked both lanes of Honoapiilani Highway in Kaanapali, police said.
“It was tragic,” Crystal Vogele of Honokawai said of the scene in a phone interview Sunday. “I’m glad I didn’t get out of my car because it would’ve been worse for me to see more than what I could already see.”
The collision occurred at 6:53 p.m., when a white 2003 Dodge pickup truck traveling south on the highway crossed the median and collided head-on into a white 2007 Toyota Camry heading north in the inner lane just south of Kekaa Drive, police said.
The Camry then hit a black 2014 Dodge pickup truck going north on the highway in the outer lane, police said. A tan 2015 Toyota Sienna van, also traveling north in the outer lane, hit the rear of the Camry.
The driver of the white truck and three people from the Camry died at the scene, according to police, who said that speed was a factor in the crash.
Raymundo Hernandez-Ramirez, 52, of Lahaina was identified as the driver of the white truck. He was wearing a seat belt.
Charles Whipple, 36, of San Mateo, Calif., and Danille McColloch, 36, of Galt, Calif., were identified as victims in the Camry. The two visitors were in the back seat and were not wearing seat belts.
McColloch was ejected from the Camry during the crash, police said.
The driver of the Camry was also killed, but was not identified pending notification of family.
A 38-year-old man from Galt, Calif., who was in the back seat of the Camry and was wearing a seat belt, was transported to Maui Memorial Medical Center in critical condition, police said. A 36-year-old woman from San Mateo, Calif., who was in the front seat and was wearing her seat belt, was taken to the hospital in stable condition.
Vogele said that she was one of the first people to arrive at the scene in her car after exercising nearby at Valley Isle Fitness. She said the white truck was on its side and on fire, while the five occupants of the Camry, as well as debris, were scattered across the highway.
“The driver’s body was out of the door sideways and he was just hanging there,” she said of the Camry’s driver. “I could see the back passenger’s arm outside the car and it was just lifeless.”
A female passenger of the Camry was sitting on the outside shoulder of the highway and appeared to be relatively unharmed, Vogele said.
“I think she was shocked,” Vogele said. “She was just sitting there and waiting for the help to come.”
At least six bystanders exited their vehicles and tended to the victims, Vogele said. She said that a woman was comforting the back-seat survivor and another man tried to extinguish the white truck that was on fire.
“They were running around, but I could see there was no life to their hands,” she said. “By the time I saw everything, nobody could do anything.”
Vogele said that Hernandez-Ramirez appeared to be driving home from work, with his orange buckets and tools strewn across the highway. The front of his truck was “smashed all the way down” and first responders had to extricate him from his vehicle, she said.
Vogele said she could have ended up in the crash if she had left the gym parking lot a couple minutes earlier, but was delayed by her husband.
“It was scary,” she said. “I’ve seen the dead bodies and I was thinking, ‘It could’ve been me if I didn’t wait.’ “
The driver of the black truck, a 37-year-old Kahului man, was wearing his seat belt and was not injured in the crash, police said. The driver of the van, a 55-year-old man from Napili, also was wearing his seat belt and was uninjured.
All three passengers of the van were wearing seat belts, police said. A 44-year-old woman from Studio City, Calif., sustained minor injuries and was taken to the hospital for treatment.
Police are still investigating the involvement of drugs and alcohol.
Saturday’s deaths bring the number of traffic fatalities in Maui County this year to 11, compared with 12 at the same time last year.
* Chris Sugidono can be reached at email@example.com.