Tongan father of five dies in Hawaii crash; wife fights for life in hospital

A Tongan father-of-five has died in a fatal crash in Hawaii while his wife is fighting for her life in hospital.

Niutouan Heilame Lavaka, 37, and his wife Alana Lyn Lavaka, 32, were heading to the airport when their Nissan Titan Truck collided with a Toyota 4Runner north on Queen Ka’ahumanu Highway on Wednesday morning, a source very close to the Lavaka family told Kaniva News. 

The couple had five young children and they live in Waimea, where Heilame made a living as a wood carver.

Both vehicles subsequently burst into flames, Hawai’ian media reported.

Heilame, Alana along with the driver and the passenger of the Toyota were taken to Kona Community Hospital.

The three were pronounced dead on their arrival at the hospital while Alana was in a life threatening condition, the source said.

Police said the driver of the 4Runner was passing several vehicles on the highway.

“As he completed his pass the operator lost control of his vehicle, which caused it to veer into the oncoming lane where it was then involved in a broadside collision with a 2008 Nissan Titan operated by a 37-year-old Kamuela man,” police say.

Police believe speed was a factor in the crash, but it is not immediately known if alcohol was involved.

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