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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted at 7:53 p.m., Saturday, April 1, 2006

2 die when car plunges into Hanalei River

By Karen Blakeman
Advertiser Staff Writer

Two men drowned early today on Kaua'i after an SUV plunged into the Hanalei River and sank.

Police said the driver, a 25-year-old Big Island man, is suspected of speeding and drinking. He escaped with minor injuries.

Killed were his passengers, 35-year-old Christopher Ferguson and 19-year-old Christopher Kaupu-Kuahiwinui, both of the Big Island.

According to police, the Chrysler sport utility vehicle was traveling southbound on Kuhio Highway near Hanalei at about 12:30 a.m. The driver lost control, hit a guardrail, and the vehicle plunged off the Hanalei bridge.

The SUV capsized and sank. The driver was able to escape, but the other two men were trapped inside.

Firefighters retrieved the bodies of Ferguson and Kaupu-Kuahiwinui from the river. The driver was taken to Wilcox Hospital, where he was treated and released.

An investigation is under way.