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The Honolulu Advertiser

Updated at 2:44 p.m., Saturday, May 12, 2007

2 officers hurt when car rams police vehicles on H-1

Advertiser Staff

A drunken driver rammed into two police vehicles on the H-1 Freeway near Makakilo early this morning, injuring the officers inside the cars, police said.

One of the officers sustained cuts and first-degree burns to his face, hands and arms when his blue-and-white patrol vehicle erupted in flames. The other sustained a cut to his hand and a strained neck.

Both were taken to Hawai'i Medical Center-West, where they were treated and released, police said.

The accident happened about 3:30 a.m., when the officers were in blue-and-white vehicles parked in the middle lane of the H-1 Freeway westbound. The freeway was closed so police could investigate an earlier accident involving a motorcycle.

Police said the 25-year-old driver of a sedan was speeding when he drove through a roadblock and rammed into the back of one of the police vehicles, then struck the left rear of the second car.

The police vehicle struck first — and hardest — erupted in flames, but the officer inside was able to get out quickly.

Initial reports said ammunition in the back of the first car that was hit went off when the fire started, creating a safety hazard.

But police could not confirm that report today.

Fire Capt. Terry Seelig said firefighters got to the scene about 3:33 a.m. and had the vehicle fire extinguished by 3:50 a.m.

The driver of the sedan was taken to Hawai'i Medical Center-West, and then arrested on suspicion of drunken driving.

The accident caused the H-1 Freeway westbound to be closed for hours longer than expected. The freeway was initially closed about midnight, after a critical motorcycle accident.

In that accident, a 46-year-old man was taken to The Queen's Medical Center in critical condition after he hit a van while changing lanes.

The crash happened about 11:55 p.m., when the man was traveling westbound on a 2001 Harley-Davidson motorcycle. Police said the man changed lanes and hit a 2004 Toyota van that was also changing lanes. Witnesses told police the motorcyclist was speeding.

Alcohol was also involved in the crash, police said.

The 59-year-old driver of the van and his 79-year-old passenger were not injured.