Two killed in weekend traffic fatalities 02-17-04

PHONE: 961-2332
FEBRUARY 17, 2004


Two persons were killed in separate traffic accidents over the weekend in Kona.

In the first accident, which occurred early Saturday (February 14, 2004) a 30-year-old Holualoa man, identified as Keith K. Kelekolio, was killed when the 1988 ford van he was driving ran off the Queen Kaahumanu Highway (Route 19) and overturned about three-tenths of a mile south of the 79-mile marker and about one mile south of the Puuanahulu landfill in North Kona.

Responding to a 4:10 a.m. call, police and fire rescue personnel determined that Kelekolio was driving north when he lost control of the van, which ran off the right side of the road and overturned. The driver was ejected from the vehicle.

Kelekolio was taken to the Kona Community Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 7:25 a.m.

Speed is believed to have been a factor, and police believe the driver wasn’t using a seat belt.

Anyone having information about the crash is asked to call Officer Eric Cerezo of the Traffic Enforcement Unit at 326-4277 in Kona or Sergeant Leroy Victorino of the TEU at 961-2332 in Hilo.

In the second accident, which occurred early Sunday, a pedestrian, identified as Gregory Pluta, 33, was killed when struck by a southbound police vehicle on Alii Drive (Route 187) near the 2.5-mile marker about a half-mile north of Royal Poinciana Drive in North Kona.

Pluta was in the southbound lane of Alii Drive when he was struck by a 1997 GMC sport utility vehicle driven by Officer Bryan Ellis, 29, of Kailua-Kona. Ellis, who was on-duty, was traveling south in response to a non-urgent call for service when his SUV struck the pedestrian.

The victim was taken to the Kona Community Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 2:34 a.m.

Traffic Enforcement Unit officers are continuing investigations into both accidents and have ordered autopsies to determine the exact cause of both deaths.

The deaths were the third and fourth traffic fatalities on the Big Island so far this year, compared to two during the same period last year.

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