HAWAII COUNTY POLICE DEPARTMENT
TRAFFIC ENFORCEMENT UNIT
SERGEANT SAMUEL V. JELSMA
SEPTEMBER 18, 2002
A 29-year-old Puna man died early Wednesday (September 18, 2002) following a motorcycle crash on Queen Kaahumanu Highway (Route 19) near the Hualalai Resort in North Kona.
The victim was identified as Michael Carta, of an Orchid Land Estates address in Puna.
Responding to a 7:57 p.m. call Tuesday (September 17, 2002), police determined that the victim was riding his 2001 Honda motorcycle south on Queen Kaahumanu Highway when he struck and killed a wild donkey on the roadway at the 86-mile marker. The impact ejected the victim from the motorcycle, and he landed on the pavement while his motorcycle continued traveling an estimated 1,400 feet onto the lava field shoulder. The area in which the accident occurred had been designated by signs as a “Donkey Crossing.”
The victim was taken to the Kona Community Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 12:45 a.m. Wednesday.
Traffic Enforcement Unit officers are continuing an investigation into the accident and have ordered an autopsy to determine the exact cause of death. A helmet was found at the scene, but it was not determined whether it was worn at the time of impact. Witnesses had reported the motorcycle was traveling at a high rate of speed and overtaking other southbound vehicles before the crash.
Carta’s death was the 19th traffic-related fatality on the Big Island so far this year, compared to 20 at the same time last year.
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