Police make arrest after fatal crash

A 26-year-old Hilo man was arrested on suspicion of negligent homicide following a traffic collision that killed a bicyclist early Wednesday morning on the northern outskirts of Hilo.

According to police, Dylen Benevides was driving a 2018 Nissan sedan north on Hawaii Belt Road (Highway 19) near Hau Lane shortly before 6 a.m. when the car struck the bicyclist, who also was traveling north on the highway’s shoulder.


Police are not releasing the identity of the victim, who was dead at the scene, pending notification of family, but a written Hawaii Fire Department statement said he was a 70-year-old man.

Police closed the Hamakua-bound lanes of Highway 19 for several hours while they investigated the crash and diverted traffic to Wainaku Avenue via Hau Lane.

Benevides, who reportedly complained of neck pain, was taken by ambulance to Hilo Medical Center, where he was treated and released. Police also arrested Benevides, and the negligent homicide investigation is continuing.

Police think speed was a factor in the crash and say it’s unknown at this time if intoxication was a factor.

A check of court records shows no criminal record for Benevides, but he was cited on Feb. 28, 2011, for driving 48 mph in a 35 mph zone. He paid a $122 fine for the speeding ticket.

The bicyclist’s death is the 32nd official traffic fatality on the Big Island this year compared to 30 at the same time last year. There also have been four vehicle-related deaths this year police don’t count toward the official total because two occurred on private property and the other two within the boundaries of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.


Police ask anyone who witnessed the crash to call Officer Keith Nacis at 961-2339. Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous can call the islandwide Crime Stoppers at 961-8300.

Email John Burnett at jburnett@hawaiitribune-herald.com.