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North Kohala fatality (update) 11-14-07

Hawaii Police Department
Traffic Enforcement Unit
Sergeant Christopher D. Gali
Phone: 961-2332
November 14, 2007
Report No. C07036473

Media Release (update)

Big Island police have identified a man who died Sunday from a traffic crash as 21-year-old Ronald J. Tavares of Waimea.

Responding to a 1:50 a.m. call Sunday (November 11), police determined that two pickup trucks were racing and driving recklessly on Akoni Pule Highway when one truck struck the other.

A 21-year-old Puna woman was operating a 1988 Isuzu pickup truck and traveling in the northbound lane when she struck a 1980 GMC pickup truck in the southbound lane that was also traveling north. The woman, who was not wearing a seat belt, was ejected from the truck. She was taken to North Hawaii Community Hospital, where she was confined in serious condition.

Tavares, who was a passenger in the Isuzu, was pronounced dead at 7:05 a.m. Sunday at Kona Community Hospital. He had been wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash.

The driver of the GMC, 34-year-old Brian Santiago of North Kohala, was arrested Sunday and charged with negligent homicide, operating a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant, no operator’s license, racing on the highway, inattention to driving, and driving while license suspended/revoked for DUI.

Three passengers in the GMC, two women and one man, were not injured.

This was the 35th traffic fatality on the Big Island this year, compared with 30 at this time last year.