New Year’s Day crash claims life of Waimea woman

KAILUA-KONA — A prelimary hearing is set later this month for a 34-year-old man facing a negligent homicide charge stemming from a vehicle-versus-pedestrian crash on New Year’s Day in South Kohala.

Jesse Speetjens, of Waimea, made his initial appearance Thursday in Kona District Court before Judge Margaret Masunaga where he invoked his right to the prelimary hearing. During the hearing set for Jan. 21, the state must show it has probable cause to support the charge of second-degree negligent homicide filed in the case.

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Forty-two-year-old Sylvia Elizabeth Ravaglia, also of Waimea, was walking in the shoulder of the westbound lane of Kawaihae Road when she was struck by a gray 1990 Toyota pickup truck operated by Speetjens shortly after 3 p.m. Wednesday, according to the Hawaii Police Department.

Police say Speetjens was operating the Toyota eastbound on Kawaihae Road when he crossed the double solid yellow line and struck Ravaglia near the intersection with Opelu Road.

Ravaglia was transported to the Kona Community Hospital, where she was later pronounced dead. Speetjens was not injured in the collision.

Police do not believe that alcohol was a factor in the collision.

An autopsy has been ordered to determine the exact cause of death.

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Following the crash, Speetjens was held in lieu of $2,000. Masunaga released Speetjens on his own recognizance following Thursday’s initial appearance.

The Area II Traffic Enforcement Unit has initiated a negligent homicide investigation and is asking for anyone who may have witnessed the collision to contact Officer Jason Foxworthy at (808) 326-4646, ext. 229.

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