Hilo Woman Dies in Queen K Crash
A 20-year-old Hilo woman died just before midnight Saturday when the car she was riding in clipped another vehicle and went out of control off the Queen Ka‘ahumanu Highway.
Police believe both speed and alcohol were factors in the fatal crash.
The woman who died, Christine C.R. Laeda, was a back-seat passenger in a 2005 Toyota four-door sedan being operated by 20-year-old Tiana Sagapolutele-Silva of Hilo.
Police said Sagapolutele-Silva was driving south near the 91-mile marker and overtaking a 2006 Chrysler sedan when her vehicle struck the Chrysler’s left-rear corner and went off the right side of the road into a lava field.
Laeda, who was not wearing a seat belt, was ejected from the vehicle, a Hawaii Fire Department spokesman said. Paramedics arriving at the scene at 12:09 a.m. determined that Laeda had died.
Sagapolutele-Silva and her three other passengers, a 19-year-old Hilo woman and two Kea‘au women, ages 22 and 20, were taken to Kona Community Hospital where they were treated for minor injuries and released.
The driver of the Chrysler, a 37-year-old California man, and his two female passengers, ages 36 and 27, were uninjured.
Sagapolutele-Silva was arrested on suspicion of operating a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant, negligent homicide, open vessel of alcohol, drinking while a minor and negligent injury. She was released pending further investigation.
The death was the 20th traffic fatality on the Big Island this year compared to 12 at this time in 2011.