Puna Fatality 05/10/99

PHONE: 961-2332
May 10, 1999


A 22-year-old Ka’u man died early Monday (May 10, 1999) following a two-car traffic accident late Sunday night on the Keaau-Pahoa Highway (Route 130).

The victim was identified as Kekoa Viernes, of South Point in Ka’u.

Responding to a 10:18 p.m. accident call, police officers determined that the victim’s 1987 Honda sedan was traveling northbound toward Keaau about a quarter-mile south of the four-mile marker when it attempted to overtake another northbound 1987 Honda sedan driven by Ronden Andrade of Keaau. As Viernes’ vehicle started to pass the other car, he apparently lost control, veered into Andrade’s car and after the collision ran off the left shoulder of the roadway, striking an embankment. Viernes was thrown from his car.

The victim was taken to the Hilo Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at 12:50 a.m. A female passenger in his vehicle was confined at the hospital in serious condition. Neither Andrade nor his male passenger was injured in the accident.

Traffic Enforcement officers are continuing the investigation to determine whether speed or alcohol was involved in the accident. They have ordered an autopsy to determine the exact cause of death.

Veirnes’ death was the fifth traffic fatality so far this year, compared to 14 at the same time last year.

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