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Hilo Teenager Dies of Traffic Injuries 04-22-01

PHONE: 961-2332
APRIL 22, 2001

A Hilo teenager died Sunday (April 22, 2001) of injuries he suffered in a one-vehicle traffic accident the day before in the Ainaloa subdivision of Puna.

The victim was identified as David Santiago, 15, of a Hilo address.

Responding to a 9:11 p.m. call Saturday, police determined that a 1994 Jeep Wrangler being driven by Matthew Smith, 18, of Mountain View, Puna, was traveling east on Ainaloa Boulevard between Lilikoi and Silver Oak Drives when he lost control. The vehicle crossed the centerline, ran off the road and collided with two palm trees and a utility pole.

Santiago, a front-seat passenger, was ejected from the vehicle and sustained head injuries. Police determined the victim wasn’t wearing seat belt.

The victim and driver were taken to the Hilo Medical Center, where Santiago died the following day. He was pronounced dead at 7:05 p.m. Sunday. The driver, who was wearing his seat belt, was treated and released from the hospital.

Traffic Enforcement Unit officers are continuing the investigation and have ordered an autopsy to determine the exact cause of death.

Alcohol and speeding are believed to have been factors in the crash.

Sunday’s death was the 10th traffic fatality on the Big Island so far this year, compared to 10 at the same time last year.

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