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Video – Highway 132 After Hurricane Iselle

After Hurricane Iselle hit the Big Island of Hawaii, the Puna District was hit hardest.  Highway 132 is the highway that many folks use to get to Kapoho and the Pohoiki areas of the Big Island.

Emergency sign announcing the closure of Highway 132.

Emergency sign announcing the closure of Highway 132.

The Highway remained closed for nearly a week as road crews and HELCO crews worked to clear the damages that was done.

Yesterday, I took a drive through there and this is what I was shocked to see… mind you that when you use to drive this route… you couldn’t even see the sky because the canopy of trees literally covered the road.

Commentary – A Giant Tree Almost Killed Me Last Night on HWY 132

I received the following commentary:

Dear Damon,

I really had a close call last night.

Tree Smash

Was driving down on my way home in Kapoho through the tree tunnel by Lava Tree state park. I heard a thunderous crack and saw for a split second a giant branch on it way down directly in front of me…not sure if I hit it first or it hit the road first but I hit it hard.

Tree Smash 2

Airbags went off and smoke filled the cabin…when I came to I was choking from the airbag smoke I got out from the car, dazed. The occupants from the car behind me asked if I was OK and said that they saw the tree come down and I was lucky to be alive…Police said I was lucky to be alive as well.

The force was enough to crack the block on the engine and spray oil and engine parts on the road.

Tree Smash 3I drive through that tree tunnel of old junk albizias every day… So do my loved ones and friends. Almost every local resident has a story of branches of all sizes down in the road and near misses.

I ask why does the county allow such a persistent and inevitable threat to exist? All one has to do is look up at the mass of giant tangled limbs and it not hard to see the gravity of the situation.

Who’s next? Will they be lucky like me? Only sore, bruised and shaken or will they be more gravely injured? 

I am a farmer by trade and don’t think I will be picking up any baskets of ginger for a while.

I will be writing letters to the County of Hawaii public works, road maintenance division as well as our council members asking the same questions above.

Tree Smash 4

In a perfect world my sincere story would be enough to get them moving to take care of this obvious problem, however If you would like to share my story on your blog it may help shine a light on this issue.

Thank you kindly,

Daniel Kelly

Motorcycle Rider Dies Near Lava Tree State Park on Route 132

The following Nixle report came in today:

Route 132 closed below Nanawale Blvd (Kaululaau Rd) to just above Lava Tree State Park due to traffic crash.

[googlemaps http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=Lava+Tree+State+Park,+Pahoa,+HI&aq=4&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=35.136115,86.572266&vpsrc=0&ie=UTF8&hq=Lava+Tree+State+Park,+Pahoa,+HI&t=h&ll=19.485852,-154.902982&spn=0.021038,0.032015&output=embed&w=425&h=350]

A friend of mine reported the following:

R**** was heading back from Pahoa about 3 pm and went past a horrible accident. He stopped to offer assistance but there were many people already there. Does anyone know how the woman did? 911 had already been called but not there yet when he stopped.

R**** was really upset when he got home as he said the woman wasn’t breathing it appeared and had a cut on her head that didn’t bleed (and those usually bleed profusely) and the man kept checking on her and it reminded him of the mongoose we had that lost its mate.

He knew it wasnt A****** (couple was in their 40’s/50’s).

Husband and wife riding side by side on 2 bikes.

Unfortunately I just heard from another friend the following:

” Saw a motorcyclist get KILLED by a tow-truck…..”

UPDATE MEDIA RELEASE:

A 53-year-old Hilo woman died Sunday (October 23) from injuries she sustained in a motorcycle crash on Kapoho-Pahoa Road .2 miles south of the 2-mile marker,

Responding to a 2:55 p.m. call, Puna patrol officers determined that the victim was operating a 1999 Honda motorcycle and traveling north on Kapoho-Pahoa Road, when she ran off the right side of the road, lost control and struck a guardrail.

She was not wearing a helmet.

Fire Rescue personnel took her to Hilo Medical Center, where she died at 6:48 p.m.

Police believe that speed may have been a factor in this crash. They do not suspect any alcohol or drug use.

The name of the victim is being withheld pending positive identification and notification of the next of kin.

Traffic Enforcement Unit officers have initiated a coroner’s inquest case and have ordered an autopsy to determine the exact cause of death.

This is the 18th traffic fatality on the Big Island this year compared with 23 at this time last year.

*UPDATE*

The 53-year-old woman who died Sunday (October 23) from injuries she sustained in a motorcycle crash on Kapoho-Pahoa Road has been identified as Jill E. Peterson of Hilo.