Arrest made in fatal South Kona crash

KAILUA-KONA — A Kailua-Kona woman is being charged with negligent homicide in connection with a motorcycle crash eight months ago that left one man dead.

On Thursday, Paulette Paulich, 44, was arrested on charges of first-degree negligent homicide and leaving the scene of the accident. She since bonded out on $30,000 bail. Charges stem from a July 17 crash.

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Mark Brown, 61, of Nevada was on a motorcycle ride with his son on Highway 11 in South Kona. Brown was on the Big Island helping his son settle after moving from the mainland a few days prior.

Hawaii Island police say the crash occurred in the evening while Brown and his son were riding Harley Davidson motorcycles to Kona. After a stop at Manuka State Wayside Park, the pair started their way north. About 7 miles later, police say, Brown was rear-ended by a woman driving a 2009 Cadillac sedan, causing him to crash.

Maj. Robert Wagner said the son appeared to have been leading the ride and was watching for his dad to show up behind him. When he didn’t, the son pulled over. Wagner added that the son saw a vehicle pass by that had damage on it and was smoking.

At that point, the son turned around and found Brown dead on the side of the road off at mile marker 88, near the highway’s intersection with Hoopuloa Road.

The Hawaii Fire Department responded to the incident at 7:23 p.m. When rescue personnel arrived at the scene, they found the motorcyclist outside the northbound lane.

Brown was about 100 feet from his bike with a bystander performing CPR when emergency responders arrived. A helmet was found next him.

During the investigation into the crash, police determined the suspect was traveling north when Brown’s motorcycle was rear-ended.

After the collision, the motorist fled. However, the vehicle was found abandoned a half-mile north at the intersection of Highway 11 and Lani Kona Road, according to a police press release.

A woman was observed walking away from the sedan.

According to the release, advanced life support and high performance CPR efforts were performed. However, those efforts ended when rescue personnel determined the victim suffered injuries that were “incompatible with life,” the release states.

Brown was declared dead at 11:23 p.m. at Kona Community Hospital.

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Police think inattention was a factor in the crash, but it’s not immediately known if alcohol and/or drugs also played a role. Wagner said it is also unknown if speed was a factor; however, investigators hope to determine that by examining tire marks on the roadway.

Email Tiffany DeMasters at tdemasters@westhawaiitoday.com.

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