A 23-year-old woman died in a single-vehicle traffic crash Saturday evening (July 2) on Puʻuhonua Road in Captain Cook north of Highway 160 and the 3-mile marker.
She has been identified as Jessica E. Uulopa of Captain Cook.
Responding to an 8 p.m. call, police determined that Uulopa was the back-seat passenger in a 2009 Chrysler PT Cruiser that was traveling south on Puʻuhonua Road. The car ran off the west shoulder of the roadway, struck a lava rock wall and overturned, ejecting Uulopa into a lava field.
She was taken to Kona Community Hospital, where she was pronounced dead at 12:25 a.m. Sunday (July 3). An autopsy has been ordered to determine the exact cause of death.
Police believe speed, inattention and alcohol were factors in this crash.
The driver of the PT Cruiser, 21-year-old Matelita A. Taumoefolao of Kailua-Kona was arrested on suspicion of negligent homicide and operating a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant. She has been released pending further investigation.
Police ask anyone who witnessed the crash to call Officer Kimo Keliipaakaua at 326-4646, extension 229. Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300.
This is the 12th traffic fatality this year compared with seven at this time last year.