Two more roadway fatalities brings total to 7 in November

KAILUA-KONA — Two traffic fatalities on Big Island roads in as many days brought the total to seven deaths in November.

The most recent ones occurred Sunday and Monday.

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The Hawaii Police Department said a 24-year-old male died from injuries sustained in a two-vehicle crash Monday morning on Highway 19 (Hawaii Belt Road) .5 miles West of the 46-mile marker.

He was identified as Lloyd W. Edwards of Honokaa.

Responding to a 5:58 a.m. call, police determined that a 2017 Honda Civic 4-door-sedan was heading East (Hilo-bound) on Highway 19 when it crossed the double solid yellow center line into oncoming traffic, striking a 2007 Dodge Ram 1500 pickup truck that was heading West (Waimea bound).

The driver of the Honda Civic was not responsive at the scene and was transported to the Hilo Medical Center, where he was later pronounced dead at 11:03 a.m. The driver of the Dodge Ram pickup truck, a 25-year-old male from Honokaa, was transported to North Hawaii Community Hospital to be treated for injuries sustained in the crash. He was listed in stable condition.

Police believe speed and inattention were factors in the crash.

An autopsy has been ordered to determine the exact cause of death.

The Traffic Enforcement Unit has initiated a negligent homicide investigation and is asking for anyone who may have witnessed the accident to contact Officer Blayne Matsui of the Area I Traffic Enforcement Unit at 961-2339.

The fatality came less than 24-hours since the most recent one.

On Sunday, a 35-year-old Naalehu man died following a single-vehicle collision on Kamaoa Road, .7 miles east of South Point road in Naalehu.

The victim was identified as Paul Ray Roby.

Responding to a 9:55 a.m. call, police determined that a white 2000 Mercedes-Benz convertible heading east had run off of the right shoulder of the roadway. The vehicle went down an 8-foot embankment and struck several trees before overturning. The driver was transported to Kona Community Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead at 4:27 p.m.

Police believe that speed and alcohol are factors in the crash.

An autopsy has been ordered to determine the exact cause of death.

The Area II Traffic Enforcement Unit has initiated a coroner’s inquest investigation and is asking for anyone who may have witnessed the accident to contact Officer Jason Foxworthy at 326-4646 ext. 229.

The recent fatalities were only the latest in what appears to be a dangerous month on Hawaii roads.

Police reminded motorists to exercise caution around the busy holiday time.

“With the recent increase in fatal crashes on our island, it is all our kuleana to remind each other to do everything we can to keep the roads safe,” Police Traffic Safety Services Program Manager Torey Keltner said in a press release Monday. “Always wear your seat belt. Never use an electronic device while driving. Slow down when visibility is decreased. Leave early and allow plenty of time to get where you are going. Please drive with aloha and show that spirit to everyone on the roadway.”

Last week, on Nov. 19, Shelby Ho‘okahi of Kailua-Kona was killed on Kuakini Highway when the Kia Optima she was driving crossed the yellow double line and collided head on with a Lexus SUV.

Police believe speed and drugs may have been a factor in that morning crash, which sent a 3-year-old and the 65-year-old Lexus driver to the hospital as well. The Lexus driver was flown to Queen’s Hospital on Oahu in critical condition. The child was released that same day.

Later that same night, a woman was seriously injured after being struck by a car on Highway 190, north of mile marker 20 near Puuanahulu.

The 28-year-old woman was attempting to push a vehicle off the roadway with the vehicle’s driver, a 29-year-old man, when the car was struck by a 2007 Hyundai Sante Fe SUV, injuring the woman.

She was transported to North Hawaii Community Hospital in critical condition.

On Nov. 16, Vincent Pereira, of Mountain View, died after his Harley Davidson motorcycle struck a guardrail in Hilo and on Nov. 14, Nicholas Catlett, of Kailua-Kona, died after falling from the rear bumper of a pickup truck on Manawalea Street while holding onto a mattress.

On Nov. 10, a Sunday, Cassandra Lynn Ellis died after being hit head-on on Queen Kaahumanu Highway by Nicholas Abarcar, of Waimea. The high profile accident also injured two teenagers and a 10-year-old. Abarcar, who is suspected of driving under the influence of an intoxicant at the time, had a prior DUI arrest.

On Nov. 6, Wayne Geil of Hilo died when he was struck by Nicanor R. Quebral while riding his bicycle at the intersection of WiliWili Street and Kaumana Drive.

According to the National Highway Safety Administration in 2017, during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, there were 365 passenger vehicle occupants killed in vehicle crashes across the nation, the police press release said.

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They also identified that nighttime is deadlier than daytime in terms of seat belt use. Over the 2017 Thanksgiving weekend, 57% of passenger vehicle occupants killed in crashes at night were unbuckled, compared to 40% during the day.

“This Thanksgiving weekend, many people on Hawaii Island will be traveling on our roads, eager to spend time with family and friends,” the department said. “It’s one of the busiest travel times of the year, and unfortunately, more people on the roadways means the potential for more vehicle crashes.”

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