Witness saw California pedestrian be thrown 15 feet after being struck by truck in Kona
February 17, 2023, 4:00 AM HST
* Updated February 17, 8:43 AM
Jeremy Mich was on his way to Rotary Club on Thursday morning when he witnessed a truck hit a pedestrian who was crossing the intersection by Walmart on Henry Street in Kailua-Kona.
The crash occurred around 11:30 a.m. and was witnessed by several bystanders.
Mich said he was traveling toward Safeway when he stopped at a red light by Walmart and Hale Kapili Street, the road to Lowe’s. He saw the pedestrian, later identified as a 73-year-old California man, crossing in the crosswalk. Mich didn’t spot the man until he was in the median.
Mich said he saw a Dodge Ram truck, later identified as a green 2022 Dodge Ram 2500 pickup truck, turning left onto Henry Street from Hale Kapili Street. He had a green arrow, Mich recalled.
“I don’t think the truck saw him,” Mich said, adding the driver of the pickup hit the man, throwing him 15 feet away from where he was struck.
“The pedestrian was face down and convulsing,” Mich said. “It was scary to see.”
Mich was among a handful of people in the area who stopped to render aid until first responders arrived.
“I jumped out of my car ran over there,” Mich said. “I’m vaguely family with first responder training and felt comfortable to check for a pulse and other things.”
The pedestrian was taken to Kona Community Hospital and is listed in critical condition. The driver was later identified as Graham Allen Racine, 39, of Kailua-Kona. After he struck the victim he left the scene of the crash and drove to the Kealakehe Police Station and turned himself in.
As of Thursday evening, Racine remained in police custody on charges of first-degree negligent injury, failure to render aid, accident involving substantial bodily injury and operating a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant.
Hawai‘i Police have not formally charged Racine. The investigation is ongoing. However, investigators suspect speed and impairment are possible factors in the collision.
Mich said the crash serves as a remind to be aware of pedestrians, even when a motorist has the “right-of-way.”
“It’s terribly tragic,” Mich said. “I feel bad for the pedestrian and the driver. I can’t imagine what that guy is going through.”
The Area II Traffic Enforcement Unit has initiated a traffic crash investigation and is asking for anyone who may have witnessed the collision to contact Officer Adam Roberg at 808-326-4646 ext. 229, or email at [email protected]. Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 808-961-8300.