East Hawaii News

Update: Pedestrian killed in Kea‘au traffic incident has been identified

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Updated on Feb. 17: Hawaiʻi Island police have identified the pedestrian who die after being struck by a car on Jan. 14, 2023 and died as John Venrick, 58, of Mountain View.

An autopsy was conducted, but the results are still pending to determine the exact cause of death.

Original post: A pedestrian was killed early Saturday morning in a traffic collision in Kea‘au.

At 5:09 a.m. Saturday, officers with the Hawai‘i Police Department’s Puna Patrol responded to a single-vehicle collision on Highway 130 in the vicinity of the 3-mile marker. The vehicle’s driver reported that something struck her vehicle windshield and shattered it.


Hawai‘i Fire Department personnel arrived at the scene first and observed an unresponsive man in the Hilo-bound lane with severe head and body trauma. The man was found about 300 feet north of where the vehicle was parked.

The pedestrian, who appears to be in his 50s, was transported to Hilo Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at 8:53 a.m. The identity of the victim is unknown at this time.

Police investigators determined a blue Acura sedan was traveling in the right-hand lane on Highway 130 when it struck the pedestrian, who was on foot between the two lanes of the Pāhoa-bound side of the highway. The man was wearing dark clothing and there were no roadway lights in the area.


The 46-year-old Kea‘au woman driving the Acura sustained minor injuries from the shattered windshield. Also in the vehicle were the driver’s three children — a minor and two adults — who were uninjured.

Police do not think alcohol, drugs, speed or inattention were factors in the crash. An autopsy was ordered to determine the exact cause of the pedestrian’s death.

Hawai‘i Police Department’s East Hawai‘i Traffic Enforcement Unit initiated a coroner’s inquest investigation and is continuing to investigate. Anyone who might have witnessed the collision or who has information about it is asked to contact Officer Jerome Duarte at 808-961-2339 or via email at Jerome.Duarte@HawaiiCounty.gov.


Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers at 808-961-8300.

This is the second traffic fatality on the Big Island in the past 24 hours. It is also the third fatal traffic collision of 2023 compared to two during the same time period last year.

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