HAWAII COUNTY POLICE DEPARTMENT
TRAFFIC ENFORCEMENT UNIT
SERGEANT SAMUEL V. JELSMA
APRIL 19, 2001
One man was killed and another injured Wednesday morning (April 19, 2001) in a head-on collision on Saddle Road (Route 200) between the 25- and 26-mile marker in the North Hilo District.
The victim who died was identified Cal Goulette, 44, of a Hilo address. The other driver, identified as Steffen Erler, 50, of West Muliteo, Washington, was hospitalized in stable condition.
Responding to a 9:53 a.m. call, police officers determined that Erler was driving a rented 2001 Nissan Altima heading east toward Hilo when he lost control of his car, which crossed the centerline on the wet pavement and collided with the victim’s vehicle. The collision forced the Goulette’s 1994 Ford Escort station wagon onto a lava field on the north side of the road.
Both vehicles were equipped with airbags, which were deployed. Erler had been wearing his seatbelt. Goulette had his automatic shoulder strap fastened, but his lap belt was unsecured.
The injured men were transported to the Hilo Medical Center. Goulette was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital at 3:40 p.m.
Both men were the sole occupants of their vehicles. Police learned that the victim had been on his way to work in Kona when the crash occurred.
The collision caused a road closure for about 6 1/2 hours while police documented the scene and Public Works Department personnel removed automotive fluids from the road surface.
Traffic Enforcement Unit officers are continuing their investigation into the accident, and an autopsy has been ordered to determine the exact cause of death.
This was the ninth traffic fatality on the Big Island so far this year, compared with nine at the same time last year.
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