Kona Man Dies in Head-on Collision 07-31-01

HAWAII COUNTY POLICE DEPARTMENT
TRAFFIC ENFORCEMENT UNIT
SERGEANT SAMUEL V. JELSMA
PHONE: 961-2332
JULY 31, 2001
G-76086

MEDIA RELEASE

A 45-year-old Kona man died and another from Ka’u was seriously injured in a head-on collision Tuesday afternoon (July 31, 2001) on the Hawaii Belt Road (Route 11) near the 87-mile marker in South Kona.

The victim was identified as James Kaupu, of a Honomalino address. The injured man was identified as Dan Yamamoto, 42, of Naalehu.

Responding to a 3:38 p.m. call, police officers determined that a 1990 Honda driven south by Yamamoto was overtaking two vehicles when his car collided with a 1994 Plymouth sedan driven by Kaupu.

Both drivers were taken to the Kona Community Hospital, Yamamoto by helicopter. Later, Yamamoto was flown in critical to the Queen’s Medical Center in Honolulu. Kaupu was pronounced dead at 7 p.m.

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

They have also initiated a negligent homicide case and are asking that anyone who witnessed the crash to call Officer Donald Hall of the Traffic Enforcement Unit at 326-4277. The two cars being overtaken at the time of the crash left the scene following the collision and before the officers arrived.

Kaupu’s death was the 19th traffic fatality so far this year on the Big Island, compared to 24 at the same time last year.

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