Kona man sentenced to 5 years for fatal crash

  • Stephen Taylor. Courtesy Hawaii Police Department

KAILUA-KONA — A 50-year-old Kailua-Kona man was sentenced last month to up to five years in jail in connection with a 2017 traffic fatality in North Kona.

Kona Circuit Court Judge Robert D.S. Kim on Nov. 22 sentenced Stephen Craig Shuster Taylor to an indeterminate period of five years incarceration for causing the death of 71-year-old Bernadette Chock on Aug. 17, 2017. The minimum term Taylor must serve before parole eligibility will be set by the Hawaii Paroling Authority.

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In addition, Taylor must pay a $105 crime victims fund fee and restitution of $4,695 for funeral expenses, according to court records.

Kim sentenced Taylor to the maximum term of imprisonment possible for second-degree negligent homicide, a Class C felony. The man could have been sentenced to four years probation with up to a year incarceration.

The Kona man pleaded guilty to the offense back on Sept. 23, just 18 days after entering a not guilty plea to the charge following an indictment handed down this August. In exchange for his guilty plea, prosecutors agreed to drop permanently two earlier 2019 cases of first-degree bail jumping and third-degree promoting a dangerous drug.

Trial had been set to commence Dec. 24.

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Taylor was operating a 2009 Nissan Frontier and headed northbound on Mamalahoa Highway, also known as Highway 190, when he crossed the centerline just north of Kaiminani Drive and collided head-on with a 2007 Honda CR-V operated by Chock, who was headed southbound on the highway, according to police. The crash was reported about 2:40 p.m. Aug. 17, 2017.

Following the collision, a 73-year-old man riding in Chock’s Honda CR-V was taken to the Kona Community Hospital for treatment of his injuries, as was Taylor. Chock was also transported to the Kona Community Hospital where she was pronounced dead at 5:52 p.m.

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