By CHELSEA JENSEN
Stephens Media Hawaii
Police on Saturday identified the man killed when the utility tractor-trailer he was driving apparently lost its brakes on a steep slope of the new Daniel K. Inouye Highway on Friday in South Kohala. The victim was identified as Troy K. Pattioay, 31, of Keaau, according to the Hawaii County Police Department. His passenger, identified by police as 26-year-old Keaau resident David Karratti, was medevaced to The Queen’s Medical Center on Oahu on Friday.
The medical center’s communications office was unable to provide an update on Karratti’s condition as of press time Saturday.
Pattioay was driving a westbound 1987 Kenworth utility tractor-trailer pulling an empty lowboy trailer on the new Daniel K. Inouye Highway, also known as the new Saddle Road or Route 200, when he apparently lost his brakes on a steep grade, crossed the centerline of the highway and veered off the shoulder near mile marker 51, according to police who responded to the 11:30 a.m. crash. The lowboy trailer broke free before the truck rolled over.
Police clarified Saturday that the vehicle was a utility tractor-trailer, not a utility boom truck as stated Friday night by the Hawaii County Fire Department.
Responding Hawaii County Fire Department personnel reported that the vehicle came to a rest upside-down approximately 50 feet up an embankment and 50 feet away from the highway. Nine Hawaii County units were dispatched to the accident. The Pohakuloa Training Area also provided an engine, manpower and equipment at the request of the fire department.
Pattioay was apparently ejected from the tractor-trailer during the crash, according to police. Fire presonnel reported he suffered “multiple trauma injuries” to the head, back and chest areas and died at the scene.
Karratti was pinned inside the tractor-trailer’s cab, according to police. It took fire rescue personnel some 90 minutes to extricate him. He was flown via Hawaii County helicopter in stable condition to North Hawaii Community Hospital and later medivaced to The Queen’s Medical Center on Oahu.
Police said Karratti told them the tractor-trailer began having brake issues near the junction of the highway and the old Saddle Road, near mile marker 49. He also told police he remembered seeing a sign warning the road had an 8-percent grade when the brakes completely failed. He added that the vehicle was traveling about 60 mph when it left the highway.
Neither speed nor alcohol appeared to be contributing factors in the deadly crash, according to police. The posted speed limit on the Daniel K. Inouye Highway is 55 mph.
The crash prompted the closure of the mauka bound lanes of the highway for several hours while Traffic Enforcement Unit officers conducted their investigation. One lane was reopened about 3:30 p.m. and the road opened fully around 5:15 p.m.
Police have ordered an autospy to determine Pattioay’s cause of death.
Twenty-five people have died on Big Island public roadways this year, compared with 36 at this time in 2012, according to police.
Anyone with information on the crash is asked to call Officer Larry Flowers at 326-4646, ext. 229.
Email Chelsea Jensen at email@example.com.