By JOHN BURNETT
Tribune-Herald staff writer
An elderly bicyclist is dead and a man with a history of speeding and drunken driving is in police custody after a collision between a pickup truck and a bicycle on Friday in Keaau.
Police said that shortly before noon, a 2004 Dodge pickup was traveling south on Volcano Highway (Route 11) 11 at a high rate of speed when its driver lost control. The vehicle crossed the grassy median near the 8-mile marker between Keaau Shopping Center and the Kamehameha Schools-Hawaii campus and struck a northbound bicyclist on the road’s shoulder.
The bicyclist, 66-year-old Cenon Tranquilino A. Visaya of Keaau, died at the scene. An autopsy has been ordered to determine the exact cause of death.
The driver of the pickup, 27-year-old Siaiku L. Aholelei of Mountain View, was taken by ambulance to Hilo Medical Center, where he was treated for minor injuries and released. He was then arrested on suspicion of first-degree negligent homicide. He was being held at the Hilo police cellblock pending further investigation.
According to court records, Aholelei has 17 criminal convictions, including felony theft, felony asssault and auto theft. He was convicted for DUI and reckless driving in 2008, and has three convictions for speeding since 2011.
The fatal crash closed Hilo-bound lanes of traffic for several hours while police investigated, and the Hilo-bound lanes were diverted into the Volcano-bound lanes on an alternating basis.
All lanes of traffic were reopened by 5 p.m.
Visaya’s death is the 22nd official traffic fatality this year on the Big Island, compared to 30 at this time last year.
Police ask that anyone who witnessed the crash call Officer Tuckloy Aurello at 961-8119.
This is the second traffic tragedy in just over a year for the Visaya family. Visaya’s wife, 61-year-old Josefina Visaya, was one of two women killed, along with 54-year-old Patrocinia Cadang of Keaau, when when the van they were riding in was sideswiped and knocked down a 15-foot embankment by a pickup truck attempting to pass them on Mamalahoa Highway (Highway 19) near Kalopa. That crash also injured the other six people in the van, three of them critically.
The driver of the pickup truck in the Kalopa crash, Alfred Berdon III, was arrested on suspicion of two counts of negligent homicide, four counts of negligent injury, DUI and driving with a suspended license and without insurance. He was later released pending investigation and, to date, has not been charged.
Email John Burnett at email@example.com.