A two car crash closed Queen Ka’ahumanu Highway from around midnight Friday until around 4 a.m. Saturday, and left one young woman dead. The accident occurred near the 91 mile marker, which is close to Kekaha Kai State Park.
The woman was identified as Christine C.R. Laeda, of a Hilo address.
Responding to a 11:56 p.m. call, Kona patrol officers determined that a 20-year-old woman, also from Hilo, was operating a 2005 Toyota four-door sedan and traveling south on Queen Ka’ahumanu Highway when she overtook a 2006 Chrysler four-door sedan and struck the left rear corner of the Chrysler, which was being operated by a 37-year-old California man.
The Toyota went out of control, ran off the right side of the road, and overturned.
Laeda, who was a back seat passenger in the Toyota, was not wearing a seat belt. She was ejected from the vehicle.
Fire rescue personnel took the driver of the Toyota and her other three passengers—a 19-year-old Hilo woman and two Kea‘au women, ages 22 and 20—to Kona Community Hospital, where they were treated and released with minor injuries.
Laeda was also taken to Kona Community Hospital, where she was pronounced dead at 2:47 a.m.
The driver of the Chrysler and his two female passengers, ages 36 and 27, were not injured.
The driver of the Toyota, 20-year-old Tiana Sagapolutele-Silva of Hilo, was arrested for negligent homicide, operating a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant, open vessel, prohibition involving minor and negligent injury.
She was released pending further investigation.
Police believe that speed and alcohol were factors in this crash.
Traffic Enforcement Unit officers have ordered an autopsy to determine the exact cause of death.
Police ask anyone with information about this crash to call Officer Larry Flowers at 326-4646, extension 229.
This is the 20th traffic fatality on the Big Island this year compared with 12 at this time last year.