Suspected DUI wreck closes Palani Road

  • Alcosiba

KAILUA-KONA — A suspected drunken driver was the culprit of a downed utility pole that snarled traffic on Palani Road for about 16 hours Tuesday.

The crash, reported at 12:45 a.m. Tuesday on the curve near Makua Lani Christian Academy in Kona, also knocked out power to about 1,500 Hawaii Electric Light Co. customers in the area, said a HELCO spokeswoman.

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Hawaii Police Department Maj. Robert Wagner said 44-year-old Chasity Alcosiba of Honokaa was the lone occupant in the vehicle at the time of the crash. No injuries were reported.

Alcosiba was driving the makai-bound vehicle when it apparently veered off the roadway and struck a utility pole, according to police. The force of the crash severed the pole, causing it to crash onto the roadway, leaving wires across the ground and blocking traffic.

The woman was subsequently arrested on suspicion of drunken driving. She was later charged with the offense and detained on $500 bail.

The crash closed Palani Road between its intersections with Highway 190 and Uluaoa Street for nearly 16 hours as HELCO crews worked to repair the downed pole and restore power. The road reopened to traffic about 5 p.m.

Rhea Lee-Moku, HELCO spokeswoman, said the crash knocked out power to 1,455 customers in the area. By 3:35 a.m., crews had restored power to 155 customers and by 5:15 a.m. the power came back on for another 1,295 customers. The final five customers were restored power at 2:45 p.m., she said.

During an initial appearance Tuesday morning before Kona District Judge Margaret Masunaga, Alcosiba entered pleaded not guilty. Deputy Public Defender Matthew Sylva also requested that Alcosiba be released on her own recognizance, to which prosecutors did not object.

Alcosiba was subsequently granted supervised release with conditions and ordered to return to court Oct. 15.

Alcosiba also was arrested in August in connection with the 2017 death of a 3-year-old foster child.

Police officers took Alcosiba into custody Aug. 15 on an arrest warrant for second-degree murder in the death of Fabian Garett-Garcia. After her arrest, police contacted the county prosecutor’s office, which declined to press charges against Alcosiba at the time. She was then released from custody.

First Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Dale Ross said Tuesday that she expected prosecutors in the Kona office to get the case “shortly.”

Fabian was pronounced dead July 25, 2017, at North Hawaii Community Hospital in Waimea after police and medics responded to a foster home in Waimea where the child was found not breathing.

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A forensic pathologist determined this summer the cause of death to be “blunt force trauma to the head” and the manner of death “non-accidental head trauma.”

Email Chelsea Jensen at cjensen@westhawaiitoday.com.