HAWAII COUNTY POLICE DEPARTMENT
TRAFFIC ENFORCEMENT UNIT
SERGEANT CHRISTOPHER D. GALI
JANUARY 24, 2005
MEDIA RELEASE UPDATE
Police have identified four persons who were killed Sunday (January 23, 2005) in a two-vehicle collision on Queen Kaahumanu Highway (Route 19) about five-tenths of a mile south of the 81-mile marker.
Police identified the victims in one vehicle, a 1990 Toyota four-door station wagon, as Jerry Rothstein, 68, a well-known Kona community activist, and his wife, Judith Rothstein, 67, both of Kailua-Kona. The victims in the second vehicle were identified as Ernest Wefelmeyer, 76, and his wife, Gearetta Wefelmeyer, 70, of Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Responding to a 6:27 p.m. call, Kona patrol officers determined that Judith Rothstein was driving the Toyota south on the highway when it crossed the centerline and collided with the Saturn, which was traveling in the opposite direction.
Jerry Rothstein was taken to the North Hawaii Community Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 7:30 p.m. The other victims were taken to the Kona Community Hospital, where they were pronounced dead at 11:50 p.m.
Traffic Enforcement officers have initiated a coroner’s inquest and three negligent homicide investigations into the collision.
It could not be determined immediately if speed or alcohol was a factor in the crash, and autopsies have been ordered to determine the exact causes of death.
Sunday’s deaths were the second, third, fourth and fifth traffic fatalities on the Big Island so far this year, compared to none at the same time last year.
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