Two more people die in crashes on Big Island roadways

KAILUA-KONA — Two traffic fatalities in as many days brought the total up to seven deaths on Big Island roadways in November.

The most recent fatalities occurred Sunday and Monday.

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Big Island police said a 24-year-old male died from injuries sustained in a two-vehicle crash Monday morning on Highway 19 (Hawaii Belt Road) half a mile west of the 46-mile marker. He was identified as Lloyd W. Edwards of Honokaa.

Responding to a 5:58 a.m. call, police determined a 2017 Honda Civic four-door sedan was heading east on Highway 19 when it crossed the double solid yellow center line into oncoming traffic, striking a 2007 Dodge Ram 1500 pickup truck that was heading west.

Edwards, who was driving the Honda Civic, was not responsive at the scene and transported to Hilo Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at 11:03 a.m. The driver of the Dodge Ram, a 25-year-old man from Honokaa, was transported to North Hawaii Community Hospital to be treated for injuries sustained in the crash. He was listed in stable condition.

Police think speed and inattention were factors in the crash. An autopsy was ordered to determine the exact cause of death.

The Traffic Enforcement Unit initiated a negligent homicide investigation and is asking anyone who might have witnessed the accident to contact Officer Blayne Matsui of the Area I Traffic Enforcement Unit at 961-2339.

The fatality came less than 24-hours after another, this time in West Hawaii.

On Sunday, a 35-year-old Naalehu man died following a single-vehicle collision on Kamaoa Road, almost a mile east of South Point Road in Naalehu. The victim was identified as Paul Ray Roby.

Responding to a 9:55 a.m. call, police determined a white 2000 Mercedes-Benz convertible heading east ran off of the right shoulder of the roadway. The vehicle went down an 8-foot embankment and struck several trees before overturning. Roby, who was driving the Mercedes-Benz, was transported to Kona Community Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 4:27 p.m.

Police think speed and alcohol were factors in the crash. An autopsy was ordered to determine the exact cause of death.

The Area II Traffic Enforcement Unit initiated a coroner’s inquest investigation and is asking anyone who might have witnessed the accident to contact Officer Jason Foxworthy at 326-4646, ext. 229.

The recent fatalities were the latest during a month that appears to be a deadly one on Hawaii Island roadways.

Police reminded motorists to exercise caution during the busy holiday time.

“With the recent increase in fatal crashes on our island, it is all our kuleana to remind each other to do everything we can to keep the roads safe,” said Traffic Safety Services program manager Torey Keltner in a press release Monday. “Always wear your seat belt. Never use an electronic device while driving. Slow down when visibility is decreased. Leave early and allow plenty of time to get where you are going. Please drive with aloha and show that spirit to everyone on the roadway.”

On Nov. 19, Shelby Ho‘okahi of Kailua-Kona was killed on Kuakini Highway when the Kia Optima she was driving crossed the yellow double line and collided head on with a Lexus SUV. Police think speed and drugs might have been a factor in that morning crash, which sent a 3-year-old and the 65-year-old Lexus driver to the hospital. The Lexus driver was flown to The Queen’s Medical Center in Honolulu in critical condition. The child was released the same day.

Later that night, a woman was seriously injured after being struck by a car on Highway 190, north of mile marker 20 near Puuanahulu.

The 28-year-old woman was attempting to push a vehicle off the roadway with the vehicle’s driver, a 29-year-old man, when the car was struck by a 2007 Hyundai Sante Fe, injuring the woman. She was transported to North Hawaii Community Hospital in Waimea in critical condition.

On Nov. 16, Vincent Pereira of Mountain View died after his Harley-Davidson motorcycle struck a guardrail in Hilo, and on Nov. 14, Nicholas Catlett of Kailua-Kona died after falling from the rear bumper of a pickup truck on Manawalea Street while holding onto a mattress.

On Nov. 10, Cassandra Lynn Ellis died after her vehicle was hit head-on on Queen Kaahumanu Highway by vehicle being driven by Nicholas Abarcar of Waimea. The crash also injured two teenagers and a 10-year-old. Abarcar, who is suspected of driving under the influence of an intoxicant at the time, had a prior DUI arrest.

On Nov. 6, Wayne Geil of Hilo died when he was struck while riding his bicycle at the intersection of WiliWili Street and Kaumana Drive in Hilo by a vehicle being driven by Nicanor R. Quebral .

According to the National Highway Safety Administration, in 2017 during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, there were 365 passenger vehicle occupants killed in vehicle crashes throughout the nation, according to a police press release.

They also identified that night is deadlier than daytime in terms of seat belt use. During the 2017 Thanksgiving weekend, 57% of passenger vehicle occupants killed in crashes at night were unbuckled compared to 40% during the day.

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“This Thanksgiving weekend, many people on Hawaii Island will be traveling on our roads, eager to spend time with family and friends,” police said. “It’s one of the busiest travel times of the year, and unfortunately, more people on the roadways means the potential for more vehicle crashes.”

Email Laura Ruminski at lruminski@westhawaiitoday.com.

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