Driver who hits pedestrian in Puna dies following altercation with unknown person

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On Friday evening, 53-year-old Ryan Kuualoha Ka‘awaloa was driving a green Chevrolet multi-purpose vehicle when he hit a pedestrian in Puna who was walking along the roadway.

Witnesses told Hawai’i Island police Kaʻawaloa immediately stopped his vehicle following the incident. An altercation between between Ka‘awaloa and an unknown person or persons ensued. It is not clear if that person was the pedestrian who was hit. Kaʻawaloa collapsed near his car and was pronounced dead less than 90 minutes later.

This is the police account:

Shortly after 9:30 p.m. on Dec. 30, Puna patrol officers responded to the intersection area of Kahakai Boulevard and Kaku Street in Hawaiian Beaches for a reported unknown type disturbance.


When officers arrived, Ka’awaloa was conscious and leaning up against his vehicle. He complained of chest pain, then collapsed to the ground, and became unresponsive. Officers immediately began performing life-saving measures on Ka‘awaloa, including CPR and use of an AED, until Hawai’i Fire Department personnel arrived.

Ka‘awaloa was transported to the Hilo Medical Center Emergency Room, where he was pronounced dead at 10:56 p.m.   

The pedestrian left the scene before police arrived. His identity is unknown.


Responding officers determined that Ka‘awaloa was traveling east on Kahakai Boulevard when he hit the pedestrian.

According to witness statements, the pedestrian is believed to be a young local male with brown curly hair, wearing a white T-shirt and gold chain. He was reportedly picked up by a black full-size pick-up truck. Police believe he may be injured and in need of medical assistance.
The Area I Criminal Investigation Section was contacted to assist, and is continuing this investigation, which is currently classified as a coroner’s inquest.
An autopsy was performed on Ka‘awaloa, and the forensic pathologist is awaiting additional testing and toxicology results to provide an exact cause and manner of death. However, the visible injuries observed on Ka‘awaloa did not appear to be life threatening. 
Ka‘awaloa’s vehicle was recovered and processed by police detectives, who believe that all of his personal belongings within the vehicle are accounted for.
Police ask anyone who may have information on the identity of the pedestrian in this case, or who may have witnessed this incident, to call the police department’s non-emergency number at 808-935-3311 or Detective John Balberde of the Area I Criminal Investigation Section at 808-961-2386 or email [email protected].
Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the islandwide Crime Stoppers number at 808-961-8300 and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

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