Top Maui Headlines: June 19, 2018
A Kahului man suffered fatal injuries in a hit-and-run moped crash on Puʻunēnē Avenue near the intersection of Airport Access Road in Kahului around 4:30 a.m. Saturday, June 16th. Maui police have since identified the moped operator as 36-year-old Joey Ruiz of Kahului, and say he died at the scene. His passenger, a 19-year-old female from Kahului was ejected from the moped during the crash and suffered serious injuries. According to police reports, the moped was struck from behind by a silver 2006 Toyota sedan, and the moped passenger was ejected while the Toyota sedan continued to push it and the male operator along Puʻunēnē Avenue. Authorities say the driver of the Toyota sedan fled the scene before police arrived, and the roadway was closed for about nine hours while crews conducted an investigation. According to police, the Toyota sedan was later located and a 35-year old Kahului man has since been arrested. The involvement of speed, drugs, and alcohol are still pending as the investigation is ongoing. This was Maui County’s fourth traffic fatality in 2018.
Hawai’i County Mayor Harry Kim was taken to the emergency room in Hilo early Saturday morning with a mild heart attack, according to information released by county officials. By Monday morning, the Mayor was resting and recuperating in the hospital. According to county reports, Mayor Kim said he had suffered discomfort and his wife called 9-1-1 for an ambulance. This came after doctors diagnosed him with a relapse of pneumonia and ordered him to rest on Friday. The Mayor has been at the helm of the ongoing response to the Puna eruption, and helped get a FEMA disaster recovery center open Friday morning to offer assistance to the public.
Meanwhile, there’s mesmerizing new USGS video of the fast-moving flow from Fissure 8 at Kīlauea. Civil Defense says more than nine square miles of land have now been impacted, with an official count of 533 homes destroyed at this point, though local leaders say numbers could be much higher. The latest USGS update explains that from Fissure 8, lava flows freely over small cascades into a well-established channel. Near the vent, lava is traveling about 15 miles per hour, then slows to about 1.5 miles per hour near the ocean entry at Kapoho.
An estimated $15,000 was raised during a recent benefit concert at Fleetwood’s on Front St. to assist Maui musician Willie K in his battle against lung cancer. While Willie K was not scheduled to perform, restaurant managers say he couldn’t help himself, sharing somel vocals along with a guitar solo. Legendary rocker and restaurant owner Mick Fleetwood says he’s known Willie K for more than 20 years and is honored to call him a friend. Funds raised will go to the Willie K Cancer Fund, and people can still donate through the Willie K Cancer Fund Go Fund Me account. Over the past four months, the account has raised $59,066 of its $100,000 goal.