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Man struck by vehicle while riding bike in Kona dies

A 42-year-old man died after he was struck by a vehicle while riding his bicycle in Kona Saturday.

He has been identified as Richard Topenio of Kailua-Kona.

At about 1:53 p.m. Saturday, police said a red 2011 Ford pickup truck driven by a 60-year-old Kamuela man traveling south on Queen Kaahumanu Highway when it veered onto the shoulder and struck Topenio.

He sustained critical injuries and was transported to Kona Community Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 4:25 p.m.

Police arrested the truck driver on suspicion of negligent homicide and operating a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant. He was released pending further investigation.

Police said it’s unknown whether speed was involved.

The Hawaii Police Department’s Traffic Enforcement Unit have opened a negligent homicide investigation. An autopsy will be conducted to determine Tupenio’s exact cause of death.

Police are asking for any witnesses to call Officer Kimo Keliipaakaua at 326-4646 or CrimeStoppers at 961-8300.

Meanwhile, the identification of a 65-year-old New Jersey man who died in a separate accident Saturday on Highway 11 at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is pending.

Park rangers reported a Hyundai Elantra driven by the 65-year-old man was involved in a two-car crash with a Toyota Scion driven by a 33-year-old man at about 1 p.m. Saturday.

Rangers and bystanders performed CPR on the Hyundai driver to no avail. Responding medics from the Hawaii County Fire Department pronounced the 65-year-old man dead at the scene, according to a Hawaii Volcanoes National Park news release.

The Scion driver was transported to Hilo Medical Center to be treated for his injuries.

The collision occured on the highway at the Namakanipaio Campground intersection at the national park.

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  • How could the police release the man responsible for the cyclist’s death when it was clear he veered off the road and was intoxicated? What’s to prevent him from fleeing the islands and averting justice? Not even bail? As a bicycle rider I am furious! It could have been any cyclist. This is gross injustice.

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