Tests: Driver in fatal crash had ‘ice,’ marijuana in blood 04-08-04

HAWAII COUNTY POLICE DEPARTMENT
AREA I OPERATIONS BUREAU
ASSISTANT CHIEF CHARLES M. CHAI
PHONE: 961-2341
H-85226/PN

MEDIA RELEASE UPDATE

Preliminary toxicological results show that the driver of a Toyota Matrix that was involved in a collision that killed him and three passengers had crystal methamphetamine and marijuana in his blood.

The medical examiner who tested the blood of the four victims did not report on the exact levels of the drugs, but said the driver, Arthur Kahele, 29, of Kailua-Kona, had levels that indicate recent use of the drugs.

Tests also showed that one of Kahele’s passengers, Siafa Taetuna, 39, of Honaunau, had an undetermined amount of an antidepressant in his blood.

There were no reports on results from tests on the two other victims, Sheena Beach, 21, of Holualoa, or Adeline Kuahuia, 42, of Kealakehe.

The four were killed March 24, 2004, in a traffic collision near the 20-mile marker on Volcano Road (Route 11) near Glenwood, Puna.

Investigating officers determined that Kahele was driving the Toyota Matrix north toward Hilo when he lost control and the vehicle crossed the centerline and collided with an oncoming tour min-bus traveling south.

Passengers in the mini-bus, all tourists from California and Taiwan, were taken to the Hilo Medical Center, where they were treated for minor injuries and released.

After the crash, police discovered several grams of what appeared to be crystal methamphetamine, or “ice,” and a substantial amount of U.S. currency in the Toyota Matrix.

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