PAHALA, HAWAII (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii Island police have opened a negligent homicide investigation after a crash killed an elderly Pahala woman earlier this week.
The 84-year-old woman, identified as Julia Gonzaga, died when the minivan she was riding in crashed. She was reportedly the front-seat passenger in the vehicle at the time of the crash.
Police say the 2012 Mazda minivan was travelling southbound on Highway 11 when the driver, also a Pahala resident, ran off the west shoulder of the road and hit a rock embankment. The impact caused the van to careen across the highway and hit another embankment on the eastern shoulder.
Gonzaga suffered critical injuries from the impact and later died at the hospital just after 2 p.m.
Police are now asking witnesses to the crash to come forward by calling Officer Justin Hooser at (808) 326-4646 ext. 229. Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300 in Hilo.
Police have requested an autopsy report to determine Gonzaga's exact cause of death.
This is the 12th traffic fatality on the Big Island this year.