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Hawaii island police identify California visitor killed in head-on crash

The California woman who was killed in a car crash on Hawaii island last month was identified Friday as 48-year-old Marcella Tellez.

On Feb. 26, Hawaii Police Department officers responded to a at 6:07 p.m. 911 call reporting a two-vehicle collision on Mamalahoa Highway (Highway 19) in Honomu. A 2019 Ford pickup truck traveling north was overtaking other vehicles on the highway when it crashed head-on into a 2023 Kia sedan traveling south, according to a police report.

The collision resulted in major damage to both cars, and the Kia caught on fire near the 13-mile marker on the highway.

Marcella Tellez, who was the front seat passenger of the Kia, was unresponsive at the scene and trapped in the car when it caught on fire. After the fire was extinguished, she was taken to the Hilo Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead at 11:09 p.m.

The driver of the Kia, a 22-year-old man, suffered life-threatening injuries and was taken to Hilo Medical Center, police said. He was later flown to the Queens Medical Center on Oahu, where he remains now in critical, but stable condition. The two occupants of the Kia were related and visiting from California, according to police.

The pickup driver, a 35-year-old Papaaloa man, was initially unresponsive at the scene. He was transported to the Hilo Medical Center in stable condition, but due to his injuries, was transferred to the Queens Medical Center, where he remains in stable condition.

The Hawaii Police Department’s East Hawaii Traffic Enforcement Unit are continuing a negligent homicide investigation. Anyone with information is asked to contact Officer Johnathan Rapoza at 808-961-2391 or at jonathan.rapoza@hawaiicounty.gov. Anonymous tipsters can also call CrimeStoppers at 808-961-8300.

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