East Hawaii News

BRIEF: Infant From Japan Dies in Ka‘u Crash

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A one-vehicle crash that occurred Thursday night near Kapapala Ranch in Ka‘u claimed the life of a 6-month-old infant from Japan, police and fire spokesmen said. Seven people, all residents of Japan, were riding in the 2011 Dodge van traveling south on Highway 11 when it ran off the right side of the road and overturned near the 48-mile marker shortly after 5 p.m.

Bystanders were performing CPR on the infant when paramedics arrived on the scene at 5:25 p.m., Capt. Neil Yoshioka of the Pahala station said in a Fire Department statement.

According to police Sgt. Christopher Gali, the 36-year-old driver of the vehicle, who is also the infant’s father, and two passengers, a 37-year-old man and a 39-year-old woman, were transported to Ka‘u Hospital. The driver and male passenger were treated for injuries and released.

Paramedics established a landing zone at Shipman Park in Kea‘au to allow the Fire Department’s medivac helicopter, Chopper 2, to rendezvous with the ambulance en route from Ka‘u and transport its patients to Hilo Medical Center. Taken to the Hilo hospital were the infant, his 28-year-old mother and two female passengers.


The infant, identified as Yuta Suzuki of Shiyonawate, Japan, was pronounced dead at 7:55 p.m. The mother was treated and released, while the other two women remained at the hospital in serious condition.

All of the adults in the van were wearing seat belts. Police said the baby was not in his car seat at the time of the crash.

Police have initiated a negligent homicide investigation of the crash.


This was the third traffic fatality on Big Island roads this year compared to five at this time in 2011.


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