East Hawaii News

UPDATE: Puna Driveway Death: Driver Released Pending Further Investigation

December 18, 2012, 4:54 PM HST
* Updated December 19, 7:46 AM
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***Updated 4:50 p.m. Dec. 18.***

Twenty-nine-year-old Beke Robert Jr. of Kea`au died Sunday, Dec. 16 after allegedly being hit by an intoxicated driver on private property.

Responding to a 2:40 a.m. call, officers from the Hawaii Police Department determined that a 33-year-old Sonny D. Kalawe of Keaʻau was driving a 2000 Ford Explorer when he reversed over the victim.

The accident happened in a private driveway, and police believe the victim either fell or jumped out of the vehicle before being run over.

Fire/rescue personnel took Robert to Hilo Medical Center, where he died at 3:42 a.m Monday, Dec. 17.


Kalawe was arrested on suspicion of negligent homicide in the first degree, in addition to operating a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant, failure to possess no-fault insurance, inattentive driving, and no operator license.


Update: After consulting prosecutors, Big Island police released Kalawe from custody, pending further investigation.

An autopsy will be performed to determine the exact cause of death. Because the fatality occurred in a private driveway, it will not affect the official traffic death total for the Big Island.

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