Pāhoa Man Charged in HVNP Death

May 31, 2017, 3:02 PM HST
* Updated May 31, 3:05 PM
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HVNP File photo.

The man killed in a single-vehicle accident Sunday night, May 28, 2017, in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park has been identified as John Ashley Becker, 48, of Texas.

The driver, Kenneth J. Ewing, 43, of Pāhoa, has been charged in federal court with negligent homicide in the first degree.

A third man was transported by ambulance to Hilo Medical Center for treatment.

Ewing was Ka‘ū-bound shortly before 9 p.m. Sunday when he lost control of the white Toyota Tacoma near the 33-mile marker on Highway 11 in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park.

The vehicle rolled over, and ejected all three occupants.


Becker was found pinned beneath the truck and pronounced dead on the scene by Hawai‘i County Fire Department medics.


This is the second fatal traffic accident in the park this year.

If convicted, Ewing faces up to 10 years in federal prison and a fine up to $250,000. The charges are only allegations. A person is presumed innocent unless and until he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

The case is being investigated by the National Park Service, with technical assistance provided by the Hawai‘i Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sara Ayabe.

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