John Costello Hawaii Accident: What We Know So Far

John Costello, a former Olathe East High School student and a freshman swimmer at the University of Illinois, was seriously injured in a deadly chemical crash near Honolulu, Hawaii on October 2, 2023. He and three of his teammates were caught up in the aftermath of a collision between a tanker truck and a passenger car that resulted in a massive fire and explosion. The accident claimed the lives of two people and injured dozens more.

The Crash Details

According to Hawaii News Now, the crash occurred around 8:30 a.m. on Interstate H-1 near the Kaonohi Street overpass. A tanker truck carrying 8,800 gallons of jet fuel collided with a Toyota Corolla, causing both vehicles to burst into flames. The fire spread quickly and engulfed several other cars and a bus that were nearby. The heat from the fire was so intense that it melted the asphalt and damaged the overpass.

The driver of the tanker truck, identified as 61-year-old Robert Leong, and the driver of the Toyota Corolla, identified as 23-year-old Kailua resident Taylor Nishimoto, were both pronounced dead at the scene. The Honolulu Fire Department said that 12 people were transported to the hospital with various injuries, while 26 others were treated at the scene for minor injuries and smoke inhalation.

Among the injured were four members of the University of Illinois swim team, who were on their way to a training camp at the University of Hawaii. They were identified as John Costello, Weston Hemmerling, Sarah Tague, and Anja Dangelmaier. They were not directly involved in the crash, but they were in a van that was behind the bus that caught fire. They managed to escape the van, but they suffered severe burns and smoke inhalation.

The Recovery Process

The four swimmers were taken to the Straub Medical Center, where they were admitted to the intensive care unit. They underwent multiple surgeries and skin grafts to treat their burns. They also received psychological counseling to cope with the trauma of the accident.

According to the Illinois Swimming and Diving Twitter account, the four swimmers showed remarkable resilience and courage throughout their recovery process. They received an outpouring of support from their families, friends, teammates, coaches, and the swimming community. They also received visits from some of the local swimmers and coaches, who brought them gifts and words of encouragement.

On October 18, 2023, the Illinois Swimming and Diving Twitter account announced that the four swimmers were discharged from the hospital and were on their way back to Illinois. They thanked the Straub Medical Center staff, the University of Hawaii swimming and diving team, and everyone who supported them during their ordeal.

The Future Plans

The four swimmers are expected to make a full recovery, but they will need time to heal and rehabilitate. They will also need to catch up on their academic work and adjust to their normal lives. They have expressed their gratitude for being alive and their determination to overcome their challenges.

John Costello, who graduated from Olathe East High School in 2023, was a standout swimmer who won several state titles and set multiple school records. He was also a National Merit Scholar and a member of the National Honor Society. He chose to attend the University of Illinois because of its prestigious engineering program and its strong swimming team. He planned to major in aerospace engineering and pursue his dream of becoming an astronaut.

According to his former coach, Peter Evans, Costello is a smart, talented, and hardworking young man who has a bright future ahead of him. He said that Costello has a positive attitude and a strong will to succeed. He also said that Costello is a leader and a role model for his peers and younger swimmers.

Costello’s family and friends have set up a GoFundMe page to help him with his medical expenses and other needs. As of November 30, 2023, the page has raised over $36,000, surpassing its original goal of $35,000. The page also features updates on Costello’s condition and messages of support from his loved ones and well-wishers.