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Woman enters not guilty plea in fatal hit-and-run crash

KAILUA-KONA — A 44-year-old South Kona woman has pleaded not guilty to two felony charges filed in connection with a July hit-and-run crash in South Kona that killed a 61-year-old visitor.

Paulette Paulich pleaded not guilty to first-degree negligent homicide for causing the death of Mark Brown by the operation of a vehicle in a negligent manner while under the influence of drugs or alcohol and failure to stop following an accident resulting in serious bodily injury or death to another person.

She entered the plea May 22 before 3rd Circuit Court Judge Robert D.S. Kim in Kealakekua. She remains free after posting $35,000 pending a jury trial set for Sept. 17.

The charges stem from a July 16 two-vehicle crash near mile marker 88 on Highway 11 that killed Brown, a Nevada resident.

Before the crash, which was reported to police at 7:19 p.m., Brown and his son had been riding their motorcycles northbound on the highway after stopping at Manuka State Wayside Park in Ka‘u, Hawaii Police said last summer.

The son was leading the ride and watching for his father to show up behind him. When Brown didn’t, the son pulled over and saw a vehicle pass that had sustained damage and was smoking. The son then turned around and found Brown on the side of the highway.

Police investigating the crash learned that a black 2009 Cadillac sedan had also been traveling northbound on the highway when it rear-ended Brown’s northbound Harley Davidson motorcycle.

Following the collision, police said the sedan and its operator fled from the scene. The Cadillac was located abandoned approximately a half-mile north of the collision at the intersection of Highway 11 and Lani Kona Road. Officers also learned that a single female, later identified to be Paulich, was observed walking away from the sedan.

First-degree negligent homicide and leaving the scene of an accident resulting in serious bodily injury or death are each class B felonies that carry a maximum penalty of 10 years incarceration and a fine up to $25,000, according to Hawaii Revised Statutes.
Source: Hawaii Tribune Herald

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