Father-son motorcycle ride turns tragic

KAILUA-KONA — A father and son motorcycle ride turned tragic Monday evening after a reported hit-and-run left a 61-year-old man for dead on the side of Highway 11 in South Kona. It was the third fatal crash on Hawaii County roads within 24 hours.

Mark Brown was on the Big Island helping his son settle after moving from the mainland a few days ago.

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Hawaii Police say the crash occurred Monday evening while Brown and his son were riding Harley Davidson motorcycles to Kona. After a stop at Manuka State Wayside Park, the pair started their way north. The evening took a turn for the worse about seven miles later, when police say Brown was rear-ended by a woman driving a 2009 Cadillac sedan, causing him to crash.

Maj. Robert Wagner said the son appeared to have been leading the ride and was watching for his dad to show up behind him. When he didn’t, the son pulled over. Wagner added that the son saw a vehicle pass by that had damage on it and was smoking.

At that point, the son turned around and found Brown dead on the side of the road off of Highway 11 at mile marker 88, near the highway’s intersection with Hoopuloa Road.

The Hawaii Fire Department responded to the incident at 7:23 p.m. When fire rescue personnel arrived at the scene, they found the motorcyclist outside the northbound lane.

Brown was about 100 feet from his bike with a bystander performing CPR when emergency responders arrived. A helmet was found next him.

During the investigation into the crash, police determined that the suspect had been traveling north when it rear-ended Brown.

After the collision, the motorist fled the scene in the sedan. However, the vehicle was found abandoned a half-mile north at the intersection of Highway 11 and Lani Kona Road, according to a press release from the Hawaii Police Department.

A woman was observed walking away from the sedan and was last seen walking barefoot east on Lani Kona Road.

According to the release, Advanced Life Support and High Performance CPR efforts were performed. However, those efforts ended when rescue personnel determined the victim had suffered injuries that were “incompatible with life,” the release states.

Brown was declared dead at Kona Community Hospital at 11:23 p.m.

Police believe inattention was a factor in the crash, but it’s not immediately known if alcohol and/or drugs also played a role. Wagner said it is also unknown if speed was a factor at this point, however, investigators hope to determine that by examining tire marks on the roadway.

An autopsy has been ordered to determine the exact cause of death. Anyone who may have witnessed the crash or who has information about the driver of the vehicle should call Officer Kimo Keliipaakaua at 326-4646, ext. 229.

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Brown’s death marked the third fatality that occurred on Hawaii Island’s public roads on Monday. A 48-year-old Hilo man was killed in a single-vehicle crash early Monday in Keaau. Later that day, a 45-year-old Kailua-Kona man was killed after a four-car collision on Highway 190 at mile marker 18 in North Kona.

So far this year, 19 people have died in traffic crashes on Hawaii Island roadways, down slightly from 20 at this point in 2017.