Waimea man indicted in death of pedestrian

A Waimea man accused of striking and killing a woman walking on Kawaihae Road has been indicted on a single charge of negligent homicide.

Jesse Speetjens, 34, of Waimea, was charged with second-degree negligent homicide for the New Year’s day crash that claimed the life of Sylvia Elizabeth Ravaglia, 42, also of Waimea, according to a Kona grand jury indictment filed Feb. 11.

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Shortly after 3 p.m. Jan. 1, Ravaglia was walking in the shoulder of the westbound lane of Kawaihae Road when she was reportedly struck by a gray 1990 Toyota pickup truck operated by Speetjens, according to the Hawaii Police Department.

Police say Speetjens was headed eastbound on the roadway when he crossed the centerline and struck Ravaglia near Kawaihae Road’s intersection with Opelu Road.

Ravaglia was transported to the Kona Community Hospital, where she was later pronounced dead. Speetjens was not injured in the collision.

Ravaglia was an ultra-endurance runner who had competed in the Ultraman World Championship and won the inaugural Mauna to Mauna Ultra in 2017, a 155.9-mile multi-stage self-supported footrace over seven days that began at Coconut Island in Hilo and finished at the Westin Hapuna Beach Resort.

Following the crash, Speetjens was held in lieu of $2,000 bail, however, Kona District Court Judge Margaret Masunaga on Jan. 2 released him on his own recognizance during his initial court appearance. A preliminary hearing was scheduled for Feb. 20.

That hearing will no longer be required as prosecutors indicted Speetjens, sending the case to Circuit Court for trial.

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Following the indictment on Feb. 11, a bench warrant was issued Feb. 13 for his arrest. Court records indicate that he may be released on his own recognizance after arrest, which had not occurred as of press-time Tuesday.

Second-degree negligent homicide is a class C felony punishable by up to five years imprisonment and a fine up to $10,000.

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