By CHELSEA JENSEN
A 38-year-old father is facing manslaughter and a slew of other charges after police say he ran over his 3-year-old son in a tragic accident Wednesday evening in Kalaoa.
Pedro Peter was charged Friday evening with manslaughter, driving without a license, failure to have no-fault insurance, four counts of failure to have a child restraint and three counts of endangering the welfare of a minor, according to the Hawaii Police Department. He is being held at the Kona police cellblock on $52,125 bail pending an initial court appearance slated for Monday.
The child, identified as Joel Peter, died at 6:43 p.m. after he was apparently run over by a pickup truck driven by Pedro Peter, near the Matsuyama Food Mart driveway off Mamalahoa Highway, according to the Hawaii Police Department. The father unknowingly struck the youngster who had fallen out of the truck’s cab.
Police determined that the boy’s sister apparently thought their father had parked the truck and subsequently opened the rear passenger door, at which time the boy fell out of the vehicle. The father, not knowing his son was outside the truck, continued up the driveway and ran over the child, according to police.
Pedro Peter then drove his son to Kona Community Hospital, which was the first entity to contact emergency officials about the incident, according to police.
Pedro Peter, his 32-year-old wife and three girls, ages 4, 4 and 6, who were in the cab, as well as two male relatives in the truck’s bed were not injured, according to police.
He was subsequently arrested in connection with the accident. He was also arrested on an outstanding warrant for failure to appear, according to police.
The warrant stems from a missed September 2011 arraignment and plea hearing for driving without a license, failure to have vehicle insurance, and failure to use passenger restraints for a child between age 4 and 8.
A police-ordered autopsy of the boy is pending. Police do not suspect speed, alcohol or drugs to be contributing factors in the accident.
The death was the first fatality recorded on Big Island roads in 2013 compared with no deaths at the time last year, according to police. In all of 2012, there were 38 lives lost on Big Island roads — the deadliest year on record since 2004.
A check of the state Attorney General’s Hawaii Criminal Justice Data Center found no prior criminal convictions for the father.
However, 3rd Circuit District Court records showed an array of traffic offenses dating to 2001. Among the infractions were driving without a license; failure to use passenger restraints for a child between age 4 and 8; failure to use passenger restraints for a child under age 4; failure to have no-fault motor vehicle insurance; driving with an instruction permit without a licensed driver present and speeding.
Email Chelsea Jensen at firstname.lastname@example.org.