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Fellow American pro Jesse Thomas was riding behind Matt Russell and witnessed the accident.
"He had just caught me about 5-10 min before and was in front of me heading back into town from Mauna Lani at that first intersection that leads to Waikoloa," said Thomas to slowtwitch. "Tailwind section, haven’t looked but I’m guessing we were going well over 30mph, he was pushing hard. I saw a truck start to cross the intersection and thought, 'that’s cutting it way too close', then the next moment a van pulled out behind the truck to try to cross as well. It looked like the crossing guard was animated in some way, either trying to wave the van quickly through or trying to get it to stop, but I couldn’t tell what was happening in the brief moments it all went down. I sat up immediately and yelled “oh fuck!” Matt saw it too and sat up and hit his brakes but had probably less than a second to do so and the van was too wide to miss from his angle. He went straight into the side of it nearly full speed. Super loud crash, looked like bike parts shattering, etc. I swerved to the left and cut behind the van by a couple of feet tops and saw Matt on the ground motionless as I went by. I sat up for a bit trying to decide what if anything I could do and realized there wasn’t anything I could do and he was surrounded by probably a hundred or more people spectating. So I tried to relax and keep going but I was pretty shaken obviously just putting myself in his shoes. He just had a kid as well so my heart just goes out to him. Terrible deal. I hope he’s ok."