HAWAII COUNTY POLICE DEPARTMENT
TRAFFIC TRAFFIC ENFORCEMENT UNIT
SERGEANT SAMUEL V. JELSMA
OCTOBER 22, 2002
A 58-year-old Kona woman died Monday (October 21, 2002) after her car was involved in a head-on collision on Queen Kaahumanu Highway (Route 19) near the 79 mile marker in the Puanahulu area of Kona.
The victim’s identity is being withheld pending notification of next-of-kin.
Responding to a 8:21 p.m. call on Monday (October 21, 2002) police officers determined that the victim was driving a 2000 Geo 4-door sedan heading southbound on Queen Kaahumanu Highway when she was struck head on by a 1999 Chevy S-10 pick-up truck which had been heading north. Witnesses had reported the pick-up truck swerving prior to the crash and observed it to cross into the oncoming traffic lane just prior to the collision.
The victim was transported to the Kona Hospital where she was pronounced dead at 11:13 p.m. on Monday (October 21, 2002).
The driver of the pickup truck identified as Anthony R. Leoffler (M-42) of a Waikoloa address was transported to the North Hawaii Community Hospital for treatment of injuries received in the crash. He was subsequently arrested for the offenses of Negligent Homicide in the 1st Degree, Driving under the Influence of an Intoxicant and Driving Left of Centerline. He was later released from police custody pending further investigation and remained confined to the Hospital in serious condition.
Traffic Enforcement Unit Officers are continuing the investigation in this alcohol related crash and have ordered an autopsy to determine the exact cause of death. The victim was determined to have been wearing her seatbelt and airbags in both vehicles deployed upon impact. There had been a report of a “Reckless Driver” prior to this collision and investigating officers are attempting to determine if this report was related to the involved suspect vehicle. Anyone who witnessed the driving pattern of the pick-up truck in question or who has knowledge of the driver’s whereabouts prior to the crash is asked to call Officer Martin Ellazar at 326-4277 at the Kona Traffic Enforcement Unit Office.
This was the 20th traffic related fatality so far this year on the Big Island compared to 22 at the same time last year.
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