An 18-year-old man who was a passenger in a vehicle died Saturday, Feb. 13, from injuries he sustained in a crash on Route 11 in the area of the 9-mile marker in Keaau.
The passenger was identified as Albert Gonsalves of Keaau.
Puna patrol officers responded to a 3:59 a.m. call and determined that an 18-year-old man driving a 2011 Toyota four-door sedan and traveling north on Route 11 crossed the centerline, ran off the road and hit a utility pole and fence.
The driver and three male passengers, all 18 years of age, were taken to the Hilo Medical Center. The driver sustained internal injuries and one of the passengers underwent surgery.
One of the men was later flown to Queen’s Medical Center on Oahu.
Gonsalves was pronounced dead at 7:08 a.m. at Hilo Medical Center.
All of the vehicle’s occupants were not wearing seat belts. Police believe speed and drug use were factors in the crash.
Traffic Enforcement Unit officers have initiated a negligent homicide investigation and have ordered an autopsy to determine the exact cause of death.
Police have also initiated Negligent Injury, Operating a Vehicle Under the Influence of an Intoxicant, and Promoting a Detrimental Drug cases.
Anyone with information regarding this case is asked to call Officer Casey Cabral at 961-8889.
This is the third traffic fatality this on Hawaii Island, compared to one at the same time last year.