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Big Island fatality raises traffic deaths to 5 in 3 days


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POSTED: Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The state's traffic death toll since Friday rose to five with the Sunday evening death of a Big Island motorcyclist.

The 62-year-old, who was not wearing a helmet, died after a collision with a pickup truck in North Kona, Big Island police said. His name was withheld until relatives were notified.

The death followed three earlier traffic deaths on the Big Island and an Oahu freeway fatality:

» Kyle R. Buckley, 20, of Kealakekua, driver of a Honda sedan, and his passenger, Jordan Rivera, 16, of Kailua-Kona, died in a three-vehicle crash on Palani Road just before midnight Saturday. Police said speed was a factor in the crash and that Buckley may have been racing with another vehicle when he crossed the center line and collided with two westbound vehicles. No one else was seriously injured.

» Jeffrey J. Earwood, 48, of Hilo was identified yesterday as the motorcyclist who died Sunday at the Queen's Medical Center in Honolulu from injuries he received in a crash Friday in Hilo.

» Poasi Paongo, 39, of Waianae died early Saturday morning when he was crushed between two stopped pickup trucks on the westbound H-1 freeway in Kapolei. He had stopped his vehicle in the right lane to check a tow rope entangled with the pickup truck he was towing when a vehicle driven by a 58-year-old Waianae woman crashed into the back. Neither the woman nor the occupants of the towed vehicle—a woman, 48, and two male passengers, 17 and 18—were seriously injured.

The motorcyclist in the North Kona accident was pronounced dead at Kona Community Hospital at 7:30 p.m. Sunday.

Police said the motorcyclist was traveling north on Highway 190 and overtaking a pickup truck in a no-passing zone when the truck driver started a left turn at Mahilani Drive, striking the bike. After the crash, the truck driver and his passenger fled on foot.

Police located them later at a Kona Palisades home and arrested the driver, 31, of Kailua-Kona, on suspicion of negligent homicide, operating a vehicle under influence of an intoxicant and consuming an intoxicating liquor while driving. They arrested the passenger, 26, of Kailua-Kona, on suspicion of leaving the scene of an accident and consuming intoxicating liquor in a motor vehicle.

An autopsy will be performed to determine the exact cause of death.

Oahu has 29 traffic fatalities so far this year—the same as last year at this time.

The Big Island reports 14 deaths compared with seven for this period last year.