HPD Identifies Victims in Two Fatal Crashes

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Big Island authorities on Tuesday identified two people who died due to traffic collisions in January.

Both incidents occurred in the private subdivision of Hawaiian Paradise Park in Kea‘au.

Richard Valdez, 55, of Granite Bay, California, died as a result of a single over-turned vehicle crash that occurred at the intersection of Maku‘u Drive and 2nd Avenue. The incident took place on Jan. 9. Officers determined that Valdez was traveling east on Maku’u Drive in a 2020 Jeep Wrangler with a removable top at a high rate of speed when it crossed the center line at the 2nd Avenue intersection and struck a utility pole on the west bound shoulder. He was ejected from the Jeep as it flipped.


Ryan Starrett, 32, of Kea‘au, died as a result of a two-vehicle collision that occurred at the intersection of Maku‘u Drive and 24th Avenue six days later on Jan. 15. Starrett was operating a 2013 Honda motorcycle and traveling south on 24th Avenue when he failed to halt at a stop sign posted at the Maku‘u Drive intersection. He broadsided a 1999 Nissan Frontier truck that was traveling mauka on Maku‘u Drive.

Traffic investigators are awaiting toxicology results for both incidents to determine if alcohol and/or drugs were factors in the crashes.

Investigators with the East Hawai‘i Traffic Enforcement Unit are still seeking the public’s assistance in locating witnesses or anyone with information about either traffic crash. Anyone with information is encouraged to call the unit at (808) 961-2339. Anonymous tipsters may call Crime Stoppers at (808) 961-8300.


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