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HPD to Conduct Further Investigation Into March Vehicle Fatality in Hōnaunau

May 5, 2021, 8:50 AM HST
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A portion of Keala O Keawe Road in Hōnaunau will be closed this week as authorities conduct further investigation into a single-vehicle crash in March that left one person dead.

Keala O Keawe Road or Highway 160, will be temporarily closed near the scenic point above Pu’uhonua O Hōnaunau National Historical Park on Friday, May 7, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Motorists will only be able to access the park from the north (makai) during this time period.

Motorists are asked to drive with caution during this time and take alternate routes if possible. Plan trips accordingly and expect delays when traveling through the area.

Hawai‘i Police Department’s Area II Traffic Enforcement Unit will be conducting further investigation into the fatality that occurred on March 19. During the course of their initial investigation, police determined a black 2010 Infinity four-door sedan heading east (mauka) on Ke Ala O Keawe Road crossed the double solid yellow line near mile marker three, drove into a guardrail, went airborne, and then down an embankment.

After the vehicle came to rest at the bottom of the embankment, it was fully engulfed in fire.

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The car was being driven by a 19-year-old Kailua-Kona man who was traveling with two female passengers, ages 19 and 24. All three were taken to Kona Community Hospital for further treatment.

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The 19-year-old passenger, Erika Fredrika Neilson, was pronounced dead at 10:40 p.m.

The driver was arrested for negligent homicide and operating a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant (OVUII). He was released on Sunday, March 21, pending further investigation.

Police believe that speed and impairment are factors in the collision.

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