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Kilauea multi-vehicle accident marks Kauai's first traffic fatality of 2014

Kilauea multi-vehicle accident marks Kauai's first traffic fatality of 2014

March 31, 2014

Driving while under the influence (DUI), speeding, recklessness and distracted driving can all lead to car accidents that cause serious injuries or death. Unfortunately, Hawaii’s traffic fatalities increased by 26% from 2011 to 2012 and a recent multi-vehicle car accident in Kilauea marked Kauai’s first traffic fatality of 2014.

HEAD-ON COLLISION KILLS ONE; INJURES THREE OTHERS

According to the Star Advertiser, Kauai police arrested a 51-year-old Kilauea man who was driving a Ford pickup truck that led to a fatal, head-on traffic collision in Kilauea. The crash occurred on Kuhio Highway at about 7:25 p.m., just south of Wailapa Road. Police say that the Ford pickup truck driver was heading northbound when his truck apparently crossed the center line, sideswiping a southbound Jeep sport utility vehicle and then striking a Dodge SUV.

The SUV overturned and killed the driver, 28-year-old Samuel Mitzel from Kilauea. His passenger, a 55-year-old man also from Kilauea, was taken to Wilcox Memorial Hospital, then flown to the Queen’s Medical Center where he remains in critical condition. The Jeep’s driver, a 50-year-old woman, was also treated at Wilcox and later released.

The pickup truck driver responsible for the accident was also treated at Wilcox, arrested on suspicion of negligent injury and negligent homicide and released pending an investigation.

While this accident marks the first traffic fatality on Kauai this year, car accidents in many Hawaiian counties have significantly increased over the past few years.

HAWAII CAR ACCIDENTS JUMP 26% IN ONE YEAR

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were 126 total crash fatalities in Hawaii in 2012, an increase of 26% over the previous year. The following counties saw the largest increases:

  • Honolulu County – Up 10%
  • Hawaii County – Up 70%
  • Maui County – Up 15%
  • Kauai County – Up 33%

The NHTSA broke down the types of vehicles, the driving behaviors and the locations where the 126 crash fatalities occurred. It reported that:

  • 69 involved single vehicles
  • 6 involved a large truck
  • 67 involved speeding
  • 21 involved a rollover
  • 61 involved a roadway departure
  • 31 occurred at an intersection

Obviously, some accidents involved more than one of the above. Sadly, statistics for non-fatal Hawaii car accidents aren’t any more encouraging. The Injury Prevention and Control Section of the Hawaii State Department of Health reports that more than 4,600 car occupants are injured in Hawaii car crashes each year – all of which can result in costly medical bills.

AVERAGE HOSPITAL STAY CAN COST NEARLY $50,000

Hawaii car crash victims are often hospitalized after an accident with injuries such as:

  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
  • Back and spinal cord injuries
  • Injuries to the upper extremities, such as the arms and hands
  • Injuries to the lower extremities, such as the hips, femur, feet and legs

The average car accident victim spends about one week in the hospital – at a cost of nearly $50,000. One thing is for sure, insurance companies will nearly always be involved and will do everything they can to pay you as little as possible – if anything at all. However, you can even the playing field. Insurance companies know which Hawaii car accident law firms will take them to court – and that can make all the difference.

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