HAWAII COUNTY POLICE DEPARTMENT
TRAFFIC ENFORCEMENT UNIT
SERGEANT SAMUEL V. JELSMA
JANUARY 28, 2002
The annual traffic fatality count for the year 2001 has been revised to 30. This was due to the addition of a crash victim who died on October 2001 being added to the list.
The victim, identified as Chester Crush, 83, of Waimea, died on October 13, 2001. Crush died of head injuries he sustained in a head-on collision that occurred three days earlier on Palani Road (Route 190) just below the intersection with Old Mamalahoa Road (Route 180) in Kailua-Kona.
Responding to a 9:43 a.m. call on October 10, 2001, Kona patrol officers determined that the victim was driving a 1999 Volkswagen Jetta sedan south on Palani Road when he crossed the center line on a curve and collided head-on into a 1984 Chevrolet pickup truck.
After the crash, Crush and the driver of the pickup, identified as, Richard King, 59, of Kailua-Kona, were taken to Kona Community Hospital. King was released following treatment, and Crush was later flown to Queen’s Medical Center in Honolulu.
Crush died three days later at Queen’s and was pronounced dead at 1:35 p.m. on October 13. Hospital personnel notified Honolulu police officers of the death, but the death was apparently handled initially as a case in which the victim died of natural causes. Big Island police learned only recently that the actual cause of death was the result of injuries Crush sustained in the traffic collision.
Traffic Enforcement Unit officers are continuing an investigation into the crash.
Crush’s death brought the 2001 Big Island fatality count to 30, compared to 38 for the year before, a decrease of 27 percent.
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