Hilo woman killed in single-vehicle crash

A 69-year-old woman is dead and her 26-year-old grandson injured following a single-car crash Wednesday night in Hilo.

Responding to the 11:51 p.m. report, Hawaii Police Department officers determined that a 2001 Jeep Grand Cherokee SUV traveling east on Kalanianaole Avenue negotiated a left curve too wide and fast for the wet roadway resulting in the Jeep veering off the right shoulder. The vehicle then struck a rock and telephone pole causing it to flip and roll to a stop.

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A woman in the front passenger seat, identified as 69-year-old Helen Napeahi of Hilo, suffered internal injuries as a result of the crash. She was unresponsive at the scene and transported to Hilo Medical Center where she was pronounced dead at 2:28 a.m. on Thursday. An autopsy has been ordered to determine the exact cause of death.

The man operating the Jeep, 26-year-old Kyle Napeahi of Hilo, who is the grandson of the decedent, did not receive any injuries as a result of the traffic crash. The 26-year-old was drunken driving, driving without a valid license and negligent homicide.

Police determined that the vehicle was equipped with lap/harness seatbelts however they were used without the shoulder harness. Officers also believe that drug use, speed, and inattention to driving were also factors in the crash.

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This is the 13th fatal traffic collision of 2021 compared to 10 fatal traffic collisions during this same time period last year.

The East Hawaii Traffic Enforcement Unit has initiated a negligent homicide investigation. Anyone who may have witnessed the crash or has information should contact Officer Jared Cabatu by calling (808) 961-2339 or via email to Jared.Cabatu@HawaiiCounty.gov. Those who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at (808) 961-8300.

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