HAWAII COUNTY POLICE DEPARTMENT
TRAFFIC ENFORCEMENT UNIT
SERGEANT SAMUEL V. JELSMA
June 7, 2001
A 19-year-old Hilo man died and three others were injured in an early morning crash that occurred on Thursday (June 7, 2001) involving two vehicles on Route 11 near the Ikaika Street intersection in the Panaewa area of Hilo.
The victim was identified as Mahie Blomgren of a Hilo address.
Responding to a 12:25 a.m. call, police determined that the victim was operating his 1998 Honda sedan heading in the Puna direction when he rear-ended a 1998 Toyota sedan being operated by a 15-year-old of Hilo. Following the crash the victim’s vehicle was forced off the left shoulder of the road and collided with a tree, pinning the victim inside and ejecting his passenger. The crash caused the Toyota to run off the right shoulder and roll over.
Following the crash, the four occupants of the two vehicles were transported to the Hilo Medical Center, where Blomgren was pronounced dead at 2:45 a.m. His front seat passenger, Jason Tanigawa, 18, of Hilo, was confined in stable condition with a broken leg. The driver and 14-year-old passenger in the Toyota sedan were both treated and released from the hospital.
Traffic Enforcement Unit officers are continuing their investigation into the crash and have ordered an autopsy to determine the exact cause of death. Speed has been determined to be a factor in the crash and both vehicles involved appeared to have been racing a the time of the collision. The exact circumstances regarding the crash are still being investigated. The victim had been wearing his seat belt, while his passenger, Tanigawa, had not and was ejected. Both juveniles in the Toyota were determined to have been wearing seat belts and airbags deployed.
This was the 14th traffic fatality of the year so far on the Big Island, compared to 11 at the same time last year.
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