By CHELSEA JENSEN
A 25-year-old woman is dead following a high-speed crash that fire officials say launched her car 50 yards before it landed in a building at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawaii.
The woman, identified by the Hawaii Police Department as a resident of Hawi, was apparently headed westbound on North Kaniku Drive when she ran off the right side of the road and crashed into a banquet storage building. She was driving a 2006 Toyota Tercel four-door sedan.
Police have not yet released the woman’s identity pending positive identification and notification of her next of kin. No further information on the cause of the crash and whether a mechanical issue was involved was available as of press time Wednesday.
Hawaii Fire Department Capt. Brent Masuda, whose South Kohala unit responded to the crash, said the woman was wearing a seat belt at the time of the 7:58 p.m. crash. She was pinned in the vehicle with no signs of life upon the arrival of fire rescue personnel.
Firefighters used the Jaws of Life to extricate her before she was transported to Kona Community Hospital where she was pronounced dead at 11:48 p.m.
Masuda said witnesses told officials the woman was initially traveling about 40 mph on North Kaniku Drive, which has a posted speed limit of 25 mph, but accelerated to an estimated 100 mph before going off the road near the front entrance road leading to the Fairmont Orchid.
He said the woman’s vehicle launched 20 feet high in the air and traveled 150 feet before coming to a rest on its side about 15 to 20 feet inside the single-story wooden storage building. He added that the vehicle apparently clipped another building during its flight.
No one was in the storage building at the time, he said. No other injuries were reported.
“If someone had been in that building doing something, it would have been bad,” he said, adding that no gas leaked from the vehicle and no fire was ignited.
Jaisy Jardine, Fairmont Orchid, Hawaii media relations director, confirmed the fatal crash at the South Kohala resort. No Fairmont Orchid employees or registered guests were injured in the crash.
Jardine also said the victim was not a registered guest or employee.
“Our thoughts are with her and her family at this time,” Jardine said, later adding that the hotel is cooperating with the police investigation of the crash.
Traffic Enforcement Unit officers have initiated a coroner’s inquest investigation and have ordered an autopsy to determine the exact cause of death. Police noted speed was involved in the crash, but it is unknown if alcohol or drugs played a role.
Email Chelsea Jensen at firstname.lastname@example.org.