By Jeff King
Three Maui men died Saturday night when the pickup bed in which they were riding was slammed by a pickup truck along Mokulele Highway near Maui Raceway Park.
At 1 p.m. today Maui Police are planning to release a brief statement about the incident.
Dead are Howard Pruse, a 25 year-old Waiehu resident, 51 year-old Eric Oguma, also from Waiehu and Tyree Kamaunu, a 27 year-old man from Waihe’e.
According to the MPD report, at 9:33 p.m. Saturday, a blue Dodge pickup truck was conducting a left turn from Mokulele Highway into the Maui Raceway Park entrance. The blue Dodge pickup truck was struck – broadside – by a white Toyota pickup truck, which was traveling northbound on Mokulele Highway.
As a result of this collision, all three passengers riding within the bed of the blue Dodge pickup truck were ejected and pronounced dead at the scene. A third vehicle, a black Toyota pickup truck, was stopped at the Maui Raceway Park exit waiting to conduct a right turn onto Mokulele Highway (northbound). This black Toyota pickup truck was struck by projectiles which were propelled as result of the white Toyota pickup truck and the blue Dodge pickup truck colliding. The front seat passenger of the Dodge pickup truck was transported to the Maui Memorial Medical Center for treatment.
Neither the driver of the Dodge nor black Toyota pickup trucks was injured. All three occupants of the white Toyota pickup truck were transported to Maui Memorial Medical Center for treatment.
The bed of the Dodge pickup truck is not equipped with any occupant protection or safety mechanisms.
Investigation into all factors including safety equipment and vehicle air bags is on going.
The involvement of speed, drugs, and alcohol has not been determined as the investigation is still ongoing.
This triple fatality motor vehicle collision brings Maui County’s total number of traffic deaths so far in 2015 to eight. Four of those deaths happened yesterday alone. Read the account of Saturday morning’s fatal crash here.
In 2014 at this time, 14 traffic fatalities had already occurred.