California woman killed in Kona crash

A 72-year-old woman visiting from California died following a three-vehicle crash Monday near the intersection of Palani Road and Tomi Tomi Drive in North Kona.

The woman was positively identified Wednesday by the Hawaii Police Department as Heserlina Emata of Milpitas, California,


Responding to a 12:18 p.m. call, police determined a gray 2020 Toyota Tacoma pickup truck, driven by a 37-year-old Kailua-Kona man, was heading north on Palani Road when it crossed the center lines and sideswiped a southbound white 2004 Honda Accord operated by a 76-year-old Kailua-Kona woman. After sideswiping the Honda sedan, the pickup truck then struck a silver 2020 Chrysler Pacific van head on. The van, which was operated by a 58-year-old California man, contained five female passengers.

The driver of the Honda Accord was treated at the scene. The pickup truck driver, as well as the driver and all five passengers of the van were transported to the Kona Community Hospital for treatment. The 72-year-old woman in the Chrysler van died at 2:40 a.m. Wednesday.

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

Anyone who may have witnessed the collision should contact Officer Jason Foxworthy at (808) 326-4646, ext. 229, or via email at Those who prefer anonymity may call Crime Stoppers at (808) 961-8300.

The death was 13th traffic this year on public roads.

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