A 52-year-old Kona man died Wednesday (February 5) from injuries he sustained in a two-vehicle crash on Queen Kaʻahumanu Highway.
He was identified as Matthew B. Lee of Kailua-Kona.
Responding to an 11:30 a.m. call, South Kohala patrol officers determined that Lee, who was operating a 1997 Ford F-250 pickup truck loaded with several empty propane gas tanks, was traveling south on Queen Kaʻahumanu Highway between the 71- and 72-mile markers when he veered across the centerline into the north-bound traffic lane and sideswiped a 2013 Dodge Dart 4-door sedan being operated by a 62-year-old man from Alberta, Canada. Also in the Dodge Dart were three other adults. No one in the Dodge Dart was injured. After colliding with the car, Matthew’s truck struck an embankment on the north-bound shoulder and came to a stop.
Lee was pronounced dead upon arrival at North Hawaiʻi Community Hospital.
Queen Kaʻahumanu Highway was closed to traffic at about 11:35 a.m. and reopened around 4:15 p.m.
Police do not believe that alcohol or speed contributed to this collision.
The Traffic Enforcement Unit has initiated a negligent homicide investigation and has ordered an autopsy to determine the exact cause of death.
Police ask anyone who witnessed the crash to call Officer Christopher Kapua-Allison at 326-4646, ext. 229.
This is the fourth fatality this year compared with seven at this time last year.