HONOLULU (KHON2) — Big Island police are investigating a fatal traffic collision that occurred on Wednesday, July 7, in the Hilo area.
The collision, which involved two family members in one vehicle, happened at approximately 11:50 p.m. on Kalanianaole Avenue and Kolea Street.
When police arrived, they determined that a stock 2001 Jeep Grand Cherokee sport utility vehicle was traveling east on Kalanianaole Ave. before it made a left curve that was too wide and fast for the wet roadway. As a result, the Jeep veered off the right shoulder, striking a rock and telephone pole, which caused the vehicle to flip and roll to a stop.
The front seat passenger has been identified as 69-year-old Helen Napeahi of Hilo. She suffered internal injuries and was found unresponsive at the scene. Police said Helen was transported to Hilo Medical Center where she was pronounced dead on Thursday.
The male driver of the Jeep has been identified as 26-year-old Kyle Napeahi of Hilo, the grandson of the decedent. He did not receive any injuries from the traffic collision. Police arrested Kyle for operating a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant, driving without a valid driver’s license and negligent homicide.
As part of the ongoing investigation, police are testing the operator for intoxicants. Police also believe drug use, speed and inattention to driving are factors to the traffic collision.
This is the 13th fatal traffic collision this year compared to 10 fatal traffic collisions during this same time period last year.
Police are asking for anyone who may have witnessed the accident or has information to contact Officer Jared Cabatu at 961-2339 or via email Jared.Cabatu@HawaiiCounty.gov . Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300 in Hilo.