Police are reporting that a 61-year-old Hilo man and a 65-year-old Hakalau man died Sunday from injuries they received after being involved in a two-vehicle crash on Hawaii Belt Road (Route 19) in the area of the 8-mile-marker north of Hilo.
Both men were drivers of their respective vehicles. One of the men was identified as Miles T. Nakanishi, 61, of a Hilo address.
The name of the other man is being withheld pending positive identification and notification of the next of kin.
Responding to a 7:19 p.m. call, traffic investigators determined that the unidentified man was operating a 1999 Chevrolet pick-up truck and traveling north on Route 19 on the Hanawi Bridge when he apparently crossed the centerline and collided with a 2005 Cadillac Escalade multi-purpose vehicle traveling south and being operated by Nakanishi.
Both drivers were dead at the scene. Passengers in the Cadillac, two women, ages 60 and 80, and two children, a 6-year-old boy and an 11-year-old girl, were taken to Hilo Medical Center by Fire Department rescue personnel.
The two children were flown to The Queen’s Medical Center and Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children in Honolulu and were in critical condition. The two women were being confined to the Hilo Medical Center in serious condition.
It is unknown at this time if speed, alcohol or drugs were involved in this crash, police said. Traffic Enforcement Unit officers have initiated negligent homicide and coroner’s inquest investigations and have ordered autopsies to determine the exact cause of death.