A 61-year-old woman and a 54-year-old woman, both from Keaau, died Monday from injuries they received in a two- vehicle crash on Mamalahoa Highway, 0.2 miles east of the 39-mile-marker in the Hamakua District, according to Big Island police.
The victims were identified as Josefina B. Visaya, 61, and Patrocinia R. Cadang, 54, both of a Keaau address.
Responding to a 4:24 p.m. call, Hamakua patrol and Traffic Enforcement Unit officers determined that a 30-year-old Honokaa man was operating a 1993 Nissan pickup truck and traveling east on Mamalahoa Highway when he overtook a 2005 Ford van being operated by a 45-year-old Keaau man with eight passengers.
The Nissan pickup truck was returning to the eastbound lane when it collided with the Ford van.
The driver of the Nissan truck, identified as Alfred Berdon III, was arrested for two counts of negligent homicide, four counts of negligent injury, operating a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant, driving while license suspended/revoked and no no fault insurance. He was also arrested for an outstanding bench warrant.
Berdon is being held at the East Hawaii Detention Center pending further investigation.
The two victims from the Ford van were transported to the Hilo Medical Center where they were pronounced dead at 9:30 p.m.
The driver of the Ford van was transported to the North Hawaii Community Hospital where he was later treated and released with minor injuries.
Other passengers within the van, a 23-year-old woman and 23-year-old man, both from Keaau, were transported to the Hilo Medical Center where they were treated and released with minor injuries.
A 46-year-old Keaau woman was flown to the Queen's Medical Center on Oahu in critical condition, another 46-year-old Keaau woman was transported to the North Hawaii Community Hospital in critical condition and a 46-year-old Keaau woman was transported to the Hilo Medical Center in critical condition.
A 55-year-old Keaau man was also transported to the North Hawaii Community Hospital in stable condition.
Police believe that alcohol and speed were a factor in this crash.
Traffic Enforcement Unit Officers have ordered an autopsy to determine the exact cause of death.
Anyone with information regarding this crash is asked to call Officer Paul Kim at 333-9708.
This is the 28th and 29th traffic fatality on the Big Island this year compared to 15 at the same time last year.