NPS UPDATE: Feds Charge Pahoa Man with Negligent Homicide

FEDERAL UPDATE:

The man killed in a single-vehicle accident Sunday night in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park has been identified as John Ashley Becker, 48, of Texas.

The driver, Kenneth J. Ewing, 43, of Pāhoa, has been charged in federal court with negligent homicide in the first degree.

A third man was transported by ambulance to Hilo Medical Center for treatment.

Ewing was Ka‘ū-bound shortly before 9 p.m. Sunday when he lost control of the white Toyota Tacoma near the 33-mile marker on Hwy. 11 in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. The vehicle rolled over, and ejected all three occupants. Becker was found pinned beneath the truck and pronounced dead on the scene by Hawai‘i County Fire Department medics.

This is the second fatal traffic accident in the park this year.

If convicted, Ewing faces up to 10 years in federal prison, and a fine up to $250,000. The charges are only allegations. A person is presumed innocent unless and until he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

The case is being investigated by the National Park Service, with technical assistance provided by the Hawai‘i Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney, Sara Ayabe.

 

INITIAL REPORT:
One man is dead and two others are seriously injured following a single-vehicle roll-over accident that occurred Sunday at 8:58 p.m. near the 33-mile marker on Highway 11 in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park.

The vehicle, a white Toyota Tacoma truck, was traveling in the Ka‘ū-bound lane when it rolled over and ejected all three occupants. A 48-year-old male passenger was found pinned beneath the truck and pronounced dead on the scene by Hawai‘i County Fire Department medics.

The 43-year-old male driver, a Pāhoa resident, was placed under arrest for suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol. He was transported by ambulance to Hilo Medical Center for further evaluation, and escorted by National Park law enforcement personnel. The third occupant, a 53-year-old male, was also transported to Hilo Medical Center for treatment.

One lane of Highway 11 remained open during the accident scene investigation, and both lanes were open and flowing freely early Monday morning. Names are being withheld pending notification of next of kin, and further investigation.

This is the second fatal traffic accident in the park this year.

Anyone with information regarding this accident can call Park Dispatch at (808) 985-6170.

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