Man, 21, faces manslaughter, other charges in crash that killed HFD veteran

KAILUA-KONA — A 21-year-old remains in police custody Thursday following a fatal crash that claimed the life of an 18-year veteran of the Hawaii Fire Department.

Christopher Raymond Helmlinger, 21, of Waimea, was arrested Wednesday morning on suspicion of manslaughter, excessive speeding of more than 81 mph, reckless driving and inattention to driving, according to Hawaii Police Department logs.

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Helmlinger was arrested Wednesday morning following a three-vehicle crash on Mamalahoa Highway that claimed the life of David Alan Mahon, 49, of Kailua-Kona.

Mahon, who had recently been promoted to fire captain in East Hawaii, was operating a purple 2016 Harley Davidson motorcycle and headed Waimea bound on Mamalahoa Highway, also known as Highway 190, when he collided with a Kona-bound 2006 Honda Pilot SUV near mile marker 14 around 6:35 a.m. about 0.2 miles south of the highway’s intersection with Daniel K. Inouye Highway, police said.

The Honda Pilot, operated by Helmlinger, was overtaking several southbound vehicles in a no-passing zone when it collided with the motorcycle, police said. A third-vehicle, a 2014 white Jeep Grand Cherokee driven by a 49-year-old Waimea man, was also involved in the wreck.

Neither the 49-year-old man nor Helmlinger were injured in the collision, police said. Mahon was officially pronounced dead at Kona Community Hospital at 2:37 p.m. Wednesday.

The crash closed for hours Mamalahoa Highway between Waikoloa Road in South Kohala and Makalei Fire Station in North Kona as police investigated the scene before the roadway could be cleared. The road, one of two connectors between Kona and Waimea, reopened around 3 p.m.

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Police ask anyone who may have witnessed the accident to contact Officer Jason Foxworthy at 326-4646, ext. 229. Those who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300.

This is the eighth traffic fatality this year compared to 11 at this time last year.

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