BJ Penn ‘getting better’ following auto accident

  • Photo by Lorraine Shin This photo taken from the shoulder of Highway 11 near Prince Kuhio Plaza show tire marks where a vehicle, presumably the Toyota pickup truck driven by UFC Hall of Fame mixed martial artist BJ Penn, skidded off the road into a shallow ravine and then into an embankment.

  • Photo by Lorraine Shin The Toyota Tacoma pickup truck driven by BJ Penn as seen at the towing storage facility after the Feb. 7 accident.

The mother of UFC Hall of Famer BJ Penn said Thursday the mixed martial artist is recovering at home from a concussion sustained in a traffic accident the evening of Feb. 7 on Kanoelehua Avenue near Prince Kuhio Plaza in Hilo.

Lorraine Shin said she owns the black Toyota Tacoma pickup truck Penn, 41, was driving when the collision occurred. She said the truck is registered to her company, MS Petroleum.


Police said they received several calls about the accident at about 7:39 p.m. that evening, with one caller reporting “black truck speeding, losing control and flipped into the embankment fronting Prince Kuhio Plaza.”

Shin said damage to the truck doesn’t support the reports the vehicle flipped over. Photos she provided the Tribune-Herald of the Tacoma at the towing storage facility taken subsequent to the collision show no damage to the roof or hood of the truck, which did have a blown out front left tire.

Another photo taken at the scene shows tire marks going into a shallow ravine between the makai-bound lanes of Kanoelehua Avenue and up an embankment by Prince Kuhio Plaza.

The vehicle was found resting against a pair of poles on the shopping center’s property, police said.

According to Shin, her son — whose legal name is Jay Dee Penn — has no memory of the collision. She said the airbags of the truck deployed, and responders found Penn unconscious on the roadway, perhaps 50 feet from the vehicle.

“He was in guarded condition for a little while, because when he got to the hospital, he was unconscious,” said Capt. Kenneth Quiocho, commander of Hawaii Police Department’s Hilo Patrol Division.

According to Shin, Penn was released from the hospital at about midnight the same evening.

Police said they believe speed and alcohol were involved, and their investigation includes the possibility of DUI, consuming or possessing liquor while driving, and inattention to driving. Police said that when their probe is complete, the results will be routed to prosecutors for screening and potential charges.


“BJ’s very sorry this has happened,” Shin said. “And to all his fans, he’s getting better, and he thanks them all for their support and prayers.”

Email John Burnett at

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