(BIVN) – A December 30th incident on a Hawaiian Beaches road that left a pedestrian injured and a vehicle operator dead is under police investigation.
On Wednesday, the Hawaiʻi Island Police Department issued a news release, detailing the events that happened on the Friday evening before New Years Eve. According to police:
Shortly after 9:30 p.m. on Friday, Puna patrol officers responded to the intersection area of Kahakai Boulevard and Kaku Street, in Hawaiian Beaches, for a reported unknown type disturbance. Responding officers determined that a green Chevrolet multi-purpose vehicle, believed to be traveling east (makai) on Kahakai Boulevard, struck a pedestrian walking along the roadway.
The vehicle operator, later identified as 53-year-old Ryan Kuualoha Ka‘awaloa, immediately stopped his vehicle following the incident. According to witnesses interviewed at the scene, an altercation between Ka‘awaloa and an unidentified person(s) ensued.
When officers arrived on scene, Kaʻawaloa was conscious and leaning up against his vehicle. He complained of chest pain, then collapsed to the ground, and became unresponsive. Officers immediately began performing life-saving measures on Ka‘awaloa, including CPR and use of an AED, until Hawai’i Fire Department personnel arrived and subsequently transported Ka‘awaloa to the Hilo Medical Center Emergency Room.
Kaʻawaloa was pronounced dead at Hilo Medical Center at 10:56 p.m.
According to witness statements, the pedestrian left the area prior to police arrival. He is believed to be a young local-male, wearing a white t-shirt, gold chain, with brown curly hair. He was reportedly picked up by a black full-size pick-up truck. Police believe he may be injured and in need of medical assistance.
The Area I Criminal Investigation Section was contacted to assist, and is continuing this investigation, which is currently classified as a coroner’s inquest.
An autopsy was performed on Ka‘awaloa, and the forensic pathologist is awaiting additional testing and toxicology results to provide an exact cause and manner of death; however, the visible injuries observed on Ka‘awaloa do not appear to be life threatening.
Ka‘awaloa’s vehicle was recovered and processed by police detectives, who believe that all of his personal belongings within the vehicle are accounted for.
Police ask anyone who may have information on the identity of the pedestrian in this case, or who may have witnessed this incident, to call the police department’s non-emergency number at (808) 935-3311, or Detective John Balberde of the Area I Criminal Investigation Section at (808) 961-2386 or email John.Balberde@hawaiicounty.gov.
Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the islandwide Crime Stoppers number at (808) 961-8300 and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers doesn’t record calls or subscribe to caller ID. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.