Tuesday | January 16, 2018
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A grave concern: County says insurance should cover cost of replacing damaged headstones

A driver’s insurance policy should cover the cost of replacing approximately 15 headstones damaged or destroyed after a vehicle plowed into Hilo’s Alae Cemetery last week, according to the Hawaii County Department of Parks and Recreation.

But the department is still asking family members to call so they can help replace the grave markers.

“Some of them were obliterated,” said Director Roxcie Waltjen. “There’s no chance of making out their names.”

She said some of the graves predate the county taking ownership of the facility, so it’s difficult identifying next of kin.

Waltjen said the department will help relatives of those buried at the graves contact the insurance company to get the markers replaced.

The damage occurred the early morning of Dec. 20 when a vehicle veered off Highway 19 while trying to overtake another car in the Hamakua-bound lane, Waltjen said.

As of Wednesday afternoon, pieces of headstones and car body fragments were strewn on the ground.

Police are investigating. Anyone who witnessed the incident can call the Police Department’s nonemergency line at 935-3311.

Parks and Recreation can be reached at 961-8311.

Email Tom Callis at tcallis@hawaiitribune-herald.com.


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