Woman Found Guilty in 2018 Fatal Hit-and-Run
May 20, 2021, 6:29 AM HST
* Updated May 20, 8:21 AM
A jury found a woman guilty, Wednesday, May 19, of negligent homicide in connection to a fatal hit-and-run crash in South Kona in 2018.
Initially charged with first-degree negligent homicide, a class B felony, Paulette Paulich was pronounced guilty in 3rd Circuit Court on a lesser-included offense of second-degree negligent homicide, a class C felony. She was found guilty as charged for accidents involving death or serious bodily injury, also a class B felony, for leaving the scene.
Paulich is currently out on supervised release. She is scheduled to be sentenced on July 28. Her offenses carry a 15-year sentence if the judge decides that she serve consecutively.
Paulich was initially charged with the crash on May 14, 2019. The case, however, was dismissed due to a pretrial delay. Charges were refiled on July 1, 2020.
The incident occurred on July 16, 2018, when the woman left the scene after hitting a motorcyclist, identified as 61-year-old Nevada man Mark Brown, in South Kona near the 88-mile marker of Hawaiʻi Belt Road, Highway 11.
Paulich was traveling north in her black Cadillac CTS when she approached Brown. According to evidence presented in court, the 46-year-old struck the Nevada man from behind.
Paulich’s vehicle sustained damage to the front passenger bumper and wheel, which caused the front passenger wheel to seize. Despite the seized front wheel, Paulich continued to drive her vehicle north until reaching the intersection of Lani Kona road.
As a result, evidence states, Paulich’s vehicle left behind a tire mark, which extended from the scene of the crash, all the way to where her vehicle came to its final resting place. Paulich’s vehicle was abandoned after becoming disabled on an embankment.
Paulich fled the scene by foot to her home, located nearby. Officers later contacted Paulich at home and she denied operating her vehicle. Hawai‘i Police Department’s investigation into the hit-and-run proved this to be incorrect.
When questioned by police eight months after the crash, Paulich changed her story, this time admitting she was driving the night of the crash but denied hitting Brown’s motorcycle.