1-year-old Kona boy dies in parking lot crash
Police received the call at 7:54 p.m. They determined that a white 1996 Chevrolet Suburban had been traveling south in the parking lot in an attempt to reverse into a parking stall. Benwa was standing in front of the Suburban as it pulled forward, causing critical injuries.
Benwa was taken to Kona Community Hospital where he died later that night.
The operator of the vehicle was Benjimon Gideon, 38, of Kailua-Kona. He was arrested and later released pending further investigation.
Traffic Enforcement Unit officers have initiated a negligent homicide investigation and have ordered an autopsy to determine the exact cause of death.
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.
Since this crash occurred in a private parking lot, the death is not counted toward the official traffic fatality count.