Fog leads to 3 car crashes on Big Island
By Colin M. Stewart
Heavy fog precipitated a series of multiple-vehicle wrecks along the same stretch of Highway 19 in Waimea on Saturday.
Emergency responders with the Waimea Fire Station received their first call related to the fog at 12:18 p.m.
A driver traveling Hilo-bound near the Waimea Country Club tried to go around someone making a left turn and crashed into the rear end of a vehicle stopped in the right-hand breakdown lane, according to firefighter/paramedic Tracy Brennan. A motorcyclist traveling behind was forced to ditch his bike to avoid a collision.
No serious injuries were reported, Brennan said, but the driver of the vehicle that caused the crash went to the hospital for back pain.
"I responded to the call," Brennan said, "and even following at a safe distance and speed, we couldn't even see the fire truck in front of us with its emergency lights going.
"It's normal for us to have fog in the area," she added, "but it was much worse than usual today. Usually you can see farther."
A second collision occurred in the same area, near mile marker 51, with responders receiving the call at 12:43 p.m. Again, no serious injuries were reported, this time in a fender-bender involving three cars heading toward Waimea.
Lastly, four vehicles were caught in a chain-reaction crash around 1:30 p.m. when a vehicle headed toward Hilo rear-ended a vehicle stopped in the road.
A 41-year-old female and a 12-year-old male were transported to the hospital with minor injuries.
Firefighters reported at about 5:30 p.m. Saturday that while the fog had not completely dissipated, visibility had improved.