A 13-year-old Waikoloa girl was killed in traffic accident on the Big Island

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WAIKOLOA, HAWAII (KHON2) — A 13-year-old Big Island girl is dead after being hit by a car Thursday, Nov. 18, in Waikoloa shortly before 7 p.m.

Jaychris Romer was arrested on suspicion of negligent homicide, driving under the influence and driving without a license. But Big Island police said they are looking into reports he had a seizure that may have contributed to the accident. Romer was released pending investigation.

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Hawaii Police Department Traffic Enforcement Unit Commander Sgt. Thomas Koyanagi said a 2007 Honda Accord Sedan driven by Romer hit 13-year-old Augustina James and injured another teen near the intersection of Kamakoa Drive and Iwikuamo’o Drive in Waikoloa Village.

“There’s a slight turn in the road and it appears the vehicle was traveling faster than the speed limit in that area,” Koyanagi explained. “It appeared to go off the side of the road, over a curb and onto the sidewalk where the 13-year-old female and a male companion was standing next to an electrical utility box in an above-ground transformer where she was struck by the vehicle who was on the sidewalk area.”

Koyanagi added that the car overturned several times, striking a kiawe tree and landing about 100 feet away from the scene.

“From the preliminary investigations and the amount of damage that was caused at the scene from the electrical box, as well as the depth of the vehicle, it appears that it was going much faster than the posted speed limit on 20 mph,” Koyanagi said.

According to Koyanagi, Augustina James died at the scene. The boy she was with was taken to Kona Community Hospital and released.

Arthur Wilson lives nearby and rushed to help.

“We saw a dark vehicle speed by and, you know, I made the comment, ‘You know, there’s kids in there, people need to slow down,’ because a lot of people do speed through there. And not even 10 seconds later, I heard the crash,” Wilson explained. He ran toward the crash and told his mom to call 911.

“By the time I got there, there was people trying to get the driver out of the car because he was pinned. He had rolled his car,” Wilson continued. “By the time the ambulance showed up, that’s when I found out that they had hit the little girl and threw her into the field. “

Koyanagi said the 21-year-old male driver of the Honda Accord Sedan and his 16-year-old male passenger, both from Waikoloa, were taken to the North Hawaii Community Hospital for treatment. They were treated and, later, released. He also said this is a big blow to the small Waikoloa community.

“They all live in the same area, and I’m pretty sure they know each other and that’s the hardest thing about it now, too, is because they know what’s happened. So, it’s going to affect that community,” added Koyanagi.

This is the 25th traffic fatality on the Big Island this year compared to 14 at the same time in 2020.

Koyanagi is urging everyone to drive safely this holiday season.

“Be considerate, think of others and make wise choices,” he urged.

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The Area II Traffic Enforcement Unit has initiated a Negligent Homicide investigation and is asking for the public’s assistance in finding any information on the incident. Anyone who has witnessed the accident may contact Officer Jason Foxworthy at (808) 326-4646, ext. 229.

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