A 46 year-old South Kona woman was sentenced to prison Wednesday for a 2018 traffic fatality that took the life of Nevada resident Mark Brown.
Prosecuting Attorney Kelden Waltjen said First Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Stephen Frye argued for the maximum penalty allowable by law, a consecutive sentence which would mean Paulette Paulich would be sentenced to serve a fifteen (15) year prison term. Family members of the late Mark Brown were also present and provided input for the Court’s consideration.
This past May, after a one-week trial, a jury found Paulich guilty of second-degree negligent homicide and leaving the scene of an accident involving death or serious bodily injury. Kona Circuit Court Judge Robert Kim sentenced Paulich, to a 10 year prison term for the leaving the scene offense and a five year prison term for the negligent homicide. Kim ordered that the sentences be served concurrently (at the same time), and also ordered restitution of $1,864. Kim also ordered Paulich, who had been out of custody on supervised release pending sentencing, to be taken into custody immediately.
The charges stem from a July 16, 2018, two-vehicle crash near mile marker 88 on Highway 11 that killed Brown, who was out for a motorcycle ride with his son.
Before the crash, Brown and his son had been riding their motorcycles northbound on the highway after stopping at Manuka State Wayside Park in Ka’u, according to the Hawaii Police Department.
The son was leading the ride and watching for his father to show up behind him. When Brown didn’t, the son pulled over and saw a vehicle pass that had sustained damage and was smoking. The son then turned around and found Brown on the side of the highway.
Police investigating the crash learned that a black 2009 Cadillac sedan had also been traveling northbound on the highway when it rear-ended Brown’s northbound Harley-Davidson motorcycle. The driver fled the scene.
The Cadillac was located abandoned approximately a half-mile north of the collision at the intersection of Highway 11 and Lani Kona Road. Officers also learned that a woman, later identified to be Paulich, was observed walking away from the sedan. She was later located in her nearby home.
“The family of Mark Brown suffered a tremendous loss as a result of the defendant’s actions in this case, and our Office extends its deepest sympathies to them. We hope that this sentencing offers the family closure and some satisfaction that justice was served and that Mark’s memory lives on,” said Frye, who handled the prosecution.