3 die in crash of 2 pickups; victims ejected from truck bed

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Monday, June 22, 2015

MAUI, HI -- Three Hawaii men riding in the bed of a pickup were killed Saturday night when the truck was struck broadside as it made a left turn from a highway into the entrance of a drag-racing venue.

The crash occurred just after 9:30 p.m. Saturday on the Mokulele Highway in Kihei on the south side of the island of Maui, police said.

Killed were Howard Pruse, 25, and 51-year-old Eric Oguma, 51, both of Waiehu, and Tyree Kamaunu, 27, of Waihee.

Hawaii law allows passengers to legally ride in the bed of a pickup if there are no available seats in the cab of the truck. Passengers in the bed must be seated on the floor and cannot "control unleashed cargo." The pickups have to have secure side racks and closed tailgates. Children 12 and under are prohibited from riding in pickup beds.

Police said the pickup carrying the three men was making a left turn into the entrance of Maui Raceway Park, an NHRA-sanctioned drag-racing venue.

As the southbound truck turned, it was struck by a pickup traveling north.

All three men in the southbound truck were ejected and declared dead at the scene.

A front-seat passenger in the southbound pickup was injured and taken to Maui Memorial Medical Center. The driver did not require medical treatment.

Three people in the second pickup were taken to the same hospital.

A third pickup waiting to turn onto the highway at the raceway exit was showered with projectiles from the crash, police said.