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Man pleads guilty to third-degree negligent homicide

A Waimea man faces up to a year behind bars after meting a plea deal with prosecutors in connection with a New Year’s Day 2020 crash that killed a pedestrian in the North Hawaii town.

Jesse Speetjens on Friday pleaded guilty to one count of third-degree negligent homicide, a misdemeanor and lesser-included offense of second-degree negligent homicide filed in connection with the death of 42-year-old Sylvia Elizabeth Ravaglia.

Ravaglia was walking in the shoulder of the westbound lane of Kawaihae Road when she was struck by a 1990 Toyota pickup truck operated by Speetjens that had crossed the centerline. The Jan. 1, 2020, crash occurred shortly after 3 p.m. near the thoroughfare’s intersection with Opelu Road.

Speetjens was uninjured and arrested at the scene. Police said in a press release that alcohol was not a factor in the crash.

He was later charged with second-degree negligent homicide, a Class C felony punishable by up to five years behind bars.

Ravaglia was an ultra-endurance runner who had competed in the Ultraman World Championship and won the inaugural Mauna to Mauna Ultra in 2017, a 155.9-mile multi-stage self-supported footrace over seven days that began at Coconut Island in Hilo and finished at the Westin Hapuna Beach Resort.

Speetjens had been released on his own recognizance after the indictment.

Sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 24, 2022, in Kona Circuit Court Judge Wendy DeWeese’s courtroom. Speetjens faces up to one year in jail.

He also motioned for a deferred acceptance of the plea. If granted, Speetjens’ conviction could be expunged if he meets all conditions of the sentence rendered.
Source: Hawaii Tribune Herald

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