Thursday | October 19, 2017
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Former cop indicted for crash that killed cyclist

A former police officer who allegedly struck and killed a bicyclist in what the Hawaii Fire Department called a hit-and-run collision last year in South Kohala has been indicted by a Kona grand jury.

The three-count indictment dated Oct. 3 charges Jody Buddemeyer with first-degree negligent homicide, tampering with physical evidence and making a false report to law enforcement authorities.

Police say Buddemeyer was on duty and driving east on Waikoloa Road near the 11-mile marker on the morning of March 1, 2015, when his car struck and killed 63-year-old Jeffrey C. Surnow of West Bloomfield Hills, Mich. Surnow, an avid bicyclist, was riding in the same direction when he was hit.

According to police, Buddemeyer reported the crash around 6:25 a.m. that day.

Buddemeyer, who was 30 at the time of the collision, was arrested that day on suspicion of negligent homicide and released from custody pending further investigation.

Buddemeyer was later terminated from the department for removing physical evidence from a crime scene and providing false information after being involved in a traffic collision, according to the annual police misconduct report provided to the state legislature.

“With these cases, oftentimes there’s forensic evidence and oftentimes cases go back and forth between the police and the prosecutors. Prosecutors are asking for further evidence and things like that,” county Prosecutor Mitch Roth said late Thursday afternoon when asked why it took so long to charge Buddemeyer.

Roth said a warrant was issued for Buddemeyer’s arrest his bail was set at $10,000.

Surnow, who was a real estate developer in Michigan, was found lying face down near a “severely damaged” bicycle on the shoulder of the eastbound lane of Waikoloa Road, according to Fire Department personnel who responded. Fire personnel determined he died prior to their arrival and handed the investigation over to police.

The indictment described Surnow as “vulnerable user.” The negligent homicide charge is a Class B felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison. The other two charges are misdemeanors punishable by up to a year in jail.

Email John Burnett at jburnett@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

 

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