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Suspected drunk driver held after fatal crash in Pahoa

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A 52-year-old Pahoa man is being held in a Hilo police cell block on suspicion of negligent homicide and other offenses after the car he was driving struck a motorcycle Wednesday night, killing its female passenger.

Big Island police said the 61-year-old woman from Oregon was a passenger on a 1977 Honda motorcycle that was hit by a four-door sedan driven by the Pahoa man on Route 130 at Ainaloa Boulevard in Pahoa.

The sedan was traveling west on Route 130 just before 10 p.m. yesterday and was turning left onto Ainaloa when it collided with a 1997 Honda motorcycle traveling east on Route 130.

The driver was arrested on suspicion of negligent homicide, negligent injury, operating a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant, and having no operator’s license and no insurance. He is being held at the Hilo police cellblock pending further investigation.

Police said they believe alcohol was a factor in the crash on the part of the suspect.

The motorcycle operator, a 55-year-old man from New Jersey, and the female victim were ejected from the motorcycle. They were not wearing helmets.

They were taken to Hilo Medical Center. The man is in serious condition.

The victim was pronounced dead at 12:22 a.m. today. Her name was being withheld pending notification of next of kin.

The driver of the Toyota and his two female passengers, ages 45 and 23, were treated for minor injuries and released.

It was the ninth traffic fatality on the Big Island this year, compared with 10 at this time last year.

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