A 10-year-old Hawaii Island girl died after being hit by a truck Wednesday afternoon, Nov. 2.
The crash occurred at around 1:10 p.m. in South Kona near the 106-mile marker of the Mamalahoa Highway (Route 11).
Police say Janexty Kaaloa was running westbound across the highway when she was hit by a 1987 Jeep pickup truck traveling southbound.
She was rushed to Kona Community Hospital in critical condition and pronounced dead at 2:33 p.m.
Her mother tells us Janexty was known as “Ulu” among family and friends.
Julie Kaaloa says Ulu was coming home from school and trying to get to the family’s restaurant across the road.
“I guess the energy was so high, she just ran… and it was just an accident,” Kaaloa said.
The truck’s driver, a 61-year-old man from Captain Cook, was arrested on suspicion of negligent homicide and later released pending further investigation. Police have not said whether speed was a factor in the crash.
Traffic Enforcement Unit officers have initiated a negligent homicide investigation and police ask anyone who witnessed the crash to call Officer Justin Hooser at 326-4646, Ext. 229. Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300 in Hilo.
However, Kaaloa says she doesn’t blame the driver for what happened.
She describes her daughter as an amazing child, always happy with a big heart full of love for family, friends, and animals.
“My message would be to other parents, spend time with your children. If they want to do something, take them, let then experience what they want. Listen to them, love them, cherish them,” she said.
Kaaloa hopes to one day do something to benefit other children, and help them live happy lives like her daughter Ulu.
This is the county’s 26th traffic fatality this year compared to 16 at this time last year.