23-Year-Old Dies in Captain Cook Crash
A 23-year-old woman died in a single-vehicle traffic crash Saturday evening, July 2, on Pu‘uhonua Road in Captain Cook north of Highway 160 and the three-mile marker.
She has been identified as Jessica E. U‘ulopa of Captain Cook.
Responding to an 8 p.m. call, police determined that U‘ulopa was the back-seat passenger in a 2009 Chrysler PT Cruiser that was traveling south on Puʻuhonua Road.
The car ran off the west shoulder of the roadway, struck a lava rock wall and overturned, ejecting U‘ulopa into a lava field.
She was taken to Kona Community Hospital, where she was pronounced dead at 12:25 a.m. Sunday, July 3. An autopsy has been ordered to determine the exact cause of death.
Police believe speed, inattention and alcohol were factors in this crash.
The driver of the PT Cruiser, 21-year-old Matelita A. Taumoefolao of Kailua-Kona, was arrested on suspicion of negligent homicide and operating a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant.
She has been released pending further investigation.
Police ask anyone who witnessed the crash to call Officer Kimo Keliipaakaua at 326-4646, ext. 229.
Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300.
This is the 12th traffic fatality this year compared with seven at this time last year.