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Police arrest both drivers in crash that killed 2 people in S. Kohala

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 12:55 p.m. HST, May 7, 2012

Hawaii County police arrested the drivers of a pickup truck and a Honda sedan in connection with an accident that killed two men Sunday in South Kohala.

Police said speed and alcohol were factors in the crash that killed Kauaheaheokaua Lactaoen, 19, of Kamuela, and Rocky P. Pactol, 18, of Honokaa, early Sunday morning near the intersection of Queen Kaahumanu Highway and Kawaihae Road.

The two men were passengers in a 2000 Honda two-door sedan driven by a 19-year-old Paauilo man. 

South Kohala patrol officers said a 40-year-old Kamuela man driving a 2006 Ford F350 pickup truck south on Kawaihae Road struck the Honda at the intersection. The two passengers in the Honda were ejected from the sedan. They were not wearing seat belts.

Police officers are still trying to determine the direction of travel for the Honda but it appears it may have turned in front of the Ford truck. 

Fire Department rescue personnel took the driver of the Honda, one of his passengers, and the driver of the Ford truck to North Hawaii Community Hospital. Fire officials said Lactaoen died at the scene. He was pronounced dead at 1:02 a.m. and Pactol died at 4:23 a.m. 

Police arrested the driver of the Honda on suspicion of two counts of negligent homicide, operating a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant, third-degree promotion of a detrimental drug and consuming and possessing intoxicating liquor while operating a motor vehicle. He was in stable condition at North Hawaii Community Hospital and released from police custody pending further investigation. 

The driver of the Ford truck was also arrested for operating a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant. Police also released him pending investigation and he was treated and released from the hospital with minor injuries. 

An autopsy will be conducted to determine the exact cause of death. 

These are the 13th and 14th fatalities on the Big Island this year compared with eight at this time last year.

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