Police seeking missing pedestrian after bizarre traffic incident that left driver dead

Police are investigating an incident that occurred on Friday evening in Puna, which left an unidentified pedestrian injured and a vehicle operator dead.

Shortly after 9:30 p.m. on Friday, Puna patrol officers responded to the intersection area of Kahakai Boulevard and Kaku Street, in Hawaiian Beaches, for a reported unknown type disturbance. Responding officers determined that a green Chevrolet sport-utility vehicle, believed to be traveling makai on Kahakai, struck a pedestrian walking along the roadway.


The driver, 53-year-old Ryan Ku‘ualoha Ka‘awaloa, immediately stopped his vehicle following the incident. According to witnesses interviewed at the scene, an altercation between Ka‘awaloa and an unidentified person or persons ensued.

When officers arrived on scene, Ka‘awaloa was conscious and leaning up against his vehicle. He complained of chest pain, then collapsed to the ground, and became unresponsive. Officers immediately began performing life-saving measures on Ka‘awaloa, including CPR and use of an automatic external defibrillator until Hawaii Fire Department personnel arrived and subsequently transported Ka‘awaloa to the Hilo Medical Center Emergency Room.

Ka‘awaloa was pronounced dead at 10:56 p.m.

According to witness statements, the pedestrian left the area prior to police arrival. He is believed to be a young local male, wearing a white T-shirt and gold chain, with brown curly hair. He was reportedly picked up by a black full-size pick-up truck. Police believe he may be injured and in need of medical assistance.

The East Hawaii Criminal Investigation Section was contacted to assist, and is continuing this investigation, which is currently classified as a coroner’s inquest.

An autopsy was performed on Ka‘awaloa, and the forensic pathologist is awaiting additional testing and toxicology results to provide an exact cause and manner of death. However, the visible injuries observed on Ka‘awaloa do not appear to be life-threatening.

Ka‘awaloa’s vehicle was recovered and processed by police detectives, who believe that all of his personal belongings within the vehicle are accounted for.

Anyone who may have information on the identity of the pedestrian or who may have witnessed this incident is asked to call the police department’s nonemergency number at (808) 935-3311 or Crime Stoppers at (808) 961-8300.

See Thursday’s Tribune-Herald for a more detailed story.

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