Woman Dies in Collision With Bus 05-06-01

PHONE: 961-2332
MAY 6, 2001

A Hilo woman died Sunday (May 6, 2001) following an apparent deliberate head-on collision with a bus on the Hawaii Belt Road (Route 19) near the 12-mile marker in the Pepeekeo area of South Hilo.

The victim was identified as Mitsuko Ikeda, 74, of a Hilo address.

Responding to a 4:09 p.m. call, police determined that the victim was driving her 1994 Toyota Camry toward Hamakua when her car crossed the centerline and drove head-on into a school bus.

The victim was transported to Hilo Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead at 7:02 p.m.

The driver of the bus, Eugene Delacruz, 59, of Honomu, was not injured in the crash, but four of 11 elderly passengers aboard were taken to the Hilo hospital, where they were treated and released. The occupants had been returning home from a Kona Hongwanji church convention.

The case was initially investigated as an automobile accident, but police later received information that the victim had left a suicide note at home. After recovering the note, police reclassified the case from a coroner’s inquest to a suicide.

The accident caused a partial road closure for about three hours. Because the case was classified as a suicide, it did not affect the traffic fatality count, which remains at 11.

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