Police have confirmed the identity of the 77-year-old woman killed Thursday afternoon, April 20, in Kona, in a four-car accident on Palani Road, Highway 190, between Hina Lani Street and Highway 180, Old Mamalahoa Highway. Alehandra Lauro, known as Alice, was reportedly on her way to pick up her granddaughter from Makua Lani Christian School.
Police on Monday had an autopsy performed and determined she died from a medical condition, not from the accident itself.
Police say Lauro was driving a 2011 Hundai SUV, going towards Kailua-Kona on Highway 190 when her vehicle rear-ended a 2006 Toyota four-door sedan being operated by a 34-year-old Waikoloa man.
The Hyundai continued south and sideswiped a 1999 Jeep multi-purpose vehicle traveling north which was being operated by a 42-year-old woman from Kailua-Kona.
Debris from the crash also damaged a 1998 Mazda pick-up truck also traveling north and being operated by a 51-year-old Kailua-Kona man.
The Hyundai continued south on Route 190, struck a stop sign at the intersection of Route 180, ran off the side of the road, struck an embankment and overturned in the parking lot of the former Hawaiian Gardens Nursery, which is just south of the Route 190 and Route 180 intersection.
Firefighters on the scene were unable to extricate Lauro from her vehicle, which burst into flames. They speculated at the time that she may have had some kind of medical emergency before or as part of the crash. Monday’s autopsy confirmed that.
A friend with whom she had lunch just that day and then shopped for fabric before Alice left said she appeared to be happy and in good health.
Alice was a dedicated tennis player, beloved by both partners and opponents for her sweet disposition. She had faced some challenges in her life: her husband was killed decades ago in an accident at the old Ka’u Sugar Plantation, leaving her with three children to raise. And a daughter was killed by a stalker on O’ahu. Despite that, Alice maintained a cheerful disposition.
She had started playing tennis after her husband died, when she still lived in Ka’u, which has an active and energetic tennis community. She also started driving up to Kona to play at Old Kona Airport. Since moving to Kona, she maintained a hectic tennis schedule until recently, when she decided to devote more time to her grandchildren.
Other friends spoke of her generosity and sweetness. One person said they hoped whatever happened was quick, and that Alice did not suffer fear nor pain at the end.
Alice is survived by two sons, and by her grandchildren. There is no word yet on any memorial.