An 88-year-old Hōnaunau man died following a single-vehicle collision on Sunday afternoon, August 6, 2023, in the parking lot of a business in the 82-6000 block of Māmalahoa Highway in Captain Cook. Hawai‘i Island police are seeking the driver of the suspect vehicle reported to be a white 1999-2002 single-cab Chevrolet Silverado 1500 pickup truck with a black tube-type bed rack and a silver utility bed tool box.
The 88-year-old man has been positively identified as Theodor Lai, Sr.
Responding to a 12:32 p.m. call, police determined that Lai was involved in a verbal argument in the parking lot with a man driving a white pickup truck. As the white pickup truck was driving away, Lai continued to yell at the male driver and was possibly holding on to the truck. At some point, Lai was possibly run over by the unknown white pickup truck. The pickup left the parking lot in an unknown direction. Lai was transported to the Kona Community Hospital for initial treatment and was later pronounced dead at 1:43 p.m.
The suspect vehicle is described as a white 1999-2002 single-cab Chevrolet Silverado 1500 pickup truck with a black tube-type bed rack with a silver utility bed tool box. Witnesses at the scene were unable to get a clear description of the male driver.
Police are asking for the public to check their video surveillance between 12:25 p.m. and 12:35 p.m. for any vehicles matching the description. The area of the traffic collision was near the intersection of Māmalahoa Highway and Kiloa Road (Kealakekua Ranch Center).
An autopsy has been ordered to determine the exact cause of death.
The Area II Traffic Enforcement Unit has initiated a negligent homicide investigation and is asking for anyone who may have witnessed the collision to contact Officer Dayson Taniguchi at (808) 326-4646, ext. 229, or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at (808) 961-8300.