3 suits filed against
Hawaii County in
woman’s death

Associated Press

HILO >> Hawaii County is facing three lawsuits filed by the family of a woman who was killed when the car she was riding in was hit by a stolen car being chased by police.

The lawsuits that were filed Wednesday also named Richard Rosario, the driver of the stolen car. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison last April after pleading no contest to manslaughter in connection with the September 2000 death of Ellison Sweezey, 31.

Among other things, the suits alleged police failed to follow procedures during the chase and did not weigh the urgency of arresting Rosario against the danger to the public. County Corporation Counsel Lincoln Ashida said the county will investigate to determine whether police followed correct procedures.

One lawsuit was filed by Sweezey's sister, Paulyn Estioko, who was driving the car that Rosario hit.

It said Estioko suffered permanent injuries and seeks money for medical expenses and lost wages. It also seeks money for the cost of caring for Sweezey's five orphaned children.

Sweezey's estate and her children filed the second lawsuit, and her mother, Eleanor Quiocho, filed the third.

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