Police said a white Ford Explorer had been seen weaving in and out of traffic and passing other vehicles before its driver died Thursday morning after colliding with another vehicle and hitting a tree in a crash on Honoapiilani Highway in Ukumehame.
"Speed seems to be a factor," said Lt. Ricky Uedoi, commander of the police Traffic Section.
Police identified the driver as 66-year-old Robert Keith Adams of Haliimaile.
The 66-year-old Haliimaile man driving this Ford Explorer was killed Thursday morning in a crash on Honoapiilani Highway in Ukumehame.
KEVIN WHEATLEY photo
He was driving a 1998 white Ford Explorer toward Lahaina when the vehicle crossed the centerline in a passing zone and collided into the left front of a maroon 2012 Chrysler 200 four-door sedan traveling in the opposite direction, police said.
The Explorer continued onto the Kahului-bound shoulder, hitting a kiawe tree and ending up facing northwest in the Kahului-bound lane. Police said the Chrysler rotated counterclockwise and came to rest facing northwest in the Kahului-bound shoulder.
Two La Jolla, Calif., men - ages 81 and 88 - who were in the Chrysler were transported to Maui Memorial Medical Center for treatment of injuries that weren't life-threatening, police said.
Occupants of another sedan that had been behind the Chrysler weren't injured when the car swerved into the Lahaina-bound lane and came into contact with airborne debris from the collision, police said.
Uedoi said witnesses reported that before the fatal crash, the Explorer had been involved in a rear-end collision on the pali and continued on.
"According to witness statements, he was driving in and out of traffic," Uedoi said. "Witnesses said he was passing cars on the shoulder."
The fatal crash occurred about 1 mile on the Lahaina side of the pali at 11:11 a.m.
Traffic investigators were still at the scene of the crash about three hours later when another fatal collision was reported in Kaunakakai at 2:22 p.m. Thursday. Police said a preliminary investigation indicated that a van collided into the rear of a motorized scooter as both vehicles were traveling east on Kamehameha V Highway in the eastbound lane.
The 69-year-old Kapaakea, Molokai, resident operating the scooter was transported to Molokai General Hospital, where she later died, police said. She was identified as Patricia Bevins.
The 60-year-old Kaunakakai man driving the van wasn't injured, police said.
Police were continuing to investigate the crash Friday, with traffic investigators sent to Molokai to help with the investigation, said Capt. John Jakubczak, commander of the Molokai Patrol District.
Including the traffic deaths Thursday, seven people have died in crashes on Maui County roads this year, compared with 13 deaths at the same time last year.
Three fatal crashes have occurred this month, including one on May 4 that killed a 33-year-old Lahaina bicyclist who was riding downhill on Kapunakea Street when he entered the intersection at Honoapiilani Highway, going through a red light, police said.
Uedoi urged drivers to be cautious on the road.
"Don't rush, drive safely," he said. "Think of the other people that may be impacted."
* Lila Fujimoto can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.