A 45-year-old Kona man died yesterday from injuries he sustained when a sport utility vehicle crashed into a tree off Mamalahoa Highway, south of mile marker 103 in South Kona.
The victim was identified as Clyde A. Duncan.
Responding to a 1:39 a.m. call, Kona patrol officers determined that a 26-year-old woman from Honaunau was driving a 1993 Ford Explorer south on Mamalahoa Highway when she lost control. The SUV ran off the right side of the road and hit a tree.
Duncan, who was a passenger, and the driver were taken to Kona Community Hospital by fire rescue personnel.
Duncan was flown to the Queen’s Medical Center in Honolulu in critical condition. He died at 8:50 p.m.
The driver was arrested on suspicion of operating a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant, negligent injury, no driver’s license and no no-fault insurance.
She was released pending further investigation because she was confined to Kona Community Hospital for her injuries.
Alcohol was a factor in the crash, police said. Police said the victim was not wearing a seat belt.
Traffic Enforcement Unit officers reclassified the case from negligent injury to negligent homicide. They ordered an autopsy.
Anyone with information regarding this crash is asked to call Officer Joshua Lewis at 326-4646, ext. 229.
Duncan’s death is the sixth traffic fatality in Hawaii County this year compared with eight at the same time last year.