Kau is grieving the loss of a Naalehu couple who were among the five dead after Wednesday’s head-on collision near Pahala.
David Taylor said his identical twin, Richard Kinser Taylor, 64, and his girlfriend, Trinidad “Trini” Myra Lei Ballesteros, 56, were heading to Pahala to visit her sick mother when the accident occurred.
“My biggest bad feeling about the thing is that they burned to death,” he said. “He may have been dead before the fire started, but from what witnesses said, she was still alive.
“The flames engulfed the cab,” he said. “By the time they were able to put the fire out, they were burned beyond recognition. It’s bad enough you get into an accident and die. Being burned up is the worst.”
The couple was riding in his Ford F-350, when a Nissan sedan crossed the center line and struck the truck, which overturned and erupted in flames.
An autopsy revealed the car driver, Donald Ingoglia, 73, of Sacramento, Calif., had a medical condition, apparently causing him to lose control of the car, police said.
He and son Philip A. Ingoglia, 39, of Costa Rica, died at the scene. Philip’s son Isidora, 9, was flown to Kona Community Hospital, where he died.
Taylor, a Naalehu native, was a recently retired truck driver and commercial fisherman. He bought the truck to haul a boat he recently finished building, “but he never got a chance to use it,” his brother said.
He was family-oriented, caring for their 92-year-old mother, and “very friendly, very outgoing,” his brother said.
Former employer Bob Taylor said Richard was “a good driver and a hard worker and had a lot of heart,” adding, “We’re going to miss him and his girlfriend, Trini, who was loved by everyone in the community.”
The longtime widower and Ballesteros had been together for about eight months and lived together in Naalehu.
Each leaves behind four children and numerous grandchildren.
Ballesteros grew up in Pahala and raised her family in Naalehu.
Daughter Rae Lynn Ballesteros-Takiue said news of the accident spread quickly and people began calling, saying the truck looked like Taylor’s.
“For us, we needed to know if it was our mom,” she said. “At first we were in denial, hoping it was not her.”
“Everybody’s taking it hard,” she said. “We have so much love, so much prayers. The support is so big. It’s what’s making us strong.
“We live in such a small community. Everybody’s so close, everybody’s so tight. Our whole house is full. Our yard is full.”
She said her mother was friendly and outgoing and made friends easily.
“She’s talking to tourists, and they’re coming over to the house the next summer,” she said. “She’d take anybody in, takes care of the elderly. She helped me with my kids.”
She added, “We did a lot of family stuff when we were younger. We never had money, but they knew how to give us some good times.”