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Kealakekua woman dies in two-car crash Sunday (Aug 1)

Accident scene photos. Click on image above for more photos. Special to Hawaii 24/7


A 31-year-old Kealakekua woman died Sunday (August 1) from injuries she sustained in a two-vehicle crash on Hawaii Belt Road (Route 11), .9 miles north of the 87-mile-marker in South Kona.

The victim was identified as Stella Corona of a Kealakekua address.

Responding to a 6:12 p.m. call, Kona patrol officers determined that a 26-year-old man from Honaunau was operating a 2007 Honda two-door sedan and traveling south on Route 11 when he crossed the centerline and collided with a 1999 Saturn four-door sedan traveling north.

The driver of the Saturn, who was wearing her seat belt, died at the scene.

Fire Department rescue personnel took the driver of the Honda and two passengers from the Saturn to Kona Community Hospital, where they were listed in serious condition. Two of the people had been pinned in the vehicles.

Robert W. Smith, Jr., 26, of Honaunau, was arrested for negligent homicide, manslaughter, two counts of negligent injury; habitual operating a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant, driving while license suspended/revoked for DUI and inattention to driving.

Being that Smith was confined to Kona Community Hospital for his injuries, he was released pending further investigation.

The victim in this case was officially pronounced dead at 11 p.m. at Kona Community Hospital.

Police believe that alcohol was a factor in this crash.

Traffic Enforcement Unit officers have requested an autopsy to determine the exact cause of death.

Police ask that anyone with information about this crash call Officer Thomas Koyanagi at 326-4646, extension 229.

This is the 20th traffic fatality on the Big Island this year compared with 13 at this time last year.

30 Responses to “Kealakekua woman dies in two-car crash Sunday (Aug 1)”

  1. Jeff says:

    She did not die at the scene, she was still alive and breathing when the firemen pulled her out of the car. That’s when I saw what that bastard, Robert W. Smith, did to her, her legs were crushed and severed at the knees. This is NOT “negligent homicide”, this is MURDER. That piece of ***t passed me in Honaunau and tailgated the car in front of me, as he weaved from side to side, trying to pass on the left and right, while he was spazzing and tweaking. This bastard was probably drunk and high on meth. I KNEW this accident would happen, but I also KNEW that calling the police about his driving would be pointless, because they DON’T GIVE A ***T. The South Kona Speedway, between Captain Cook and Ocean View is a forsaken death zone, where maniacs rule the road, and nobody in local government cares.

    • Nica says:


      • Jaime says:

        I think the last think you need to do is stick up for someone that killed my friend and destroyed a family.

      • Chloe says:

        Oh, i'm sorry the drunk murderer doesn't do meth. He did however kill and has endangered the lives of god knows how many people.

      • Jeff says:

        That's right, I DON'T know him, and I don't WANT to know him. But I did see how your apparent, friend, was driving and acting in his car, as I followed him for a few miles, right after he cut in front of me. He was not a typical, slow drunk, in his body movements, but rather, he was jerking his head and upper body, from right to left, and he kept looking down to his right, as if he was trying to find something on the floorboard. Both my wife and I saw that he was acting more like a tweaker, than a drunk. Then, when he crashed his car, I walked up to it and smelled the alcohol inside it. Now perhaps you show some compassion for the dead woman, instead of defending TRASH like Robert Smith.

      • Kelly says:

        Nice defend a killer, he took my friend and he walked away. She is gone forever. Too bad you never got a chance to know her, maybe she could have made a postive difference in your life because defending a killer is not postive.

      • Debz says:

        Nica: that’s because you meth addicts are all in denial. WAKE UP.

  2. Jeff says:

    After he crashed his car, and mortally wounded that woman, I walked up to Smith and saw him lying on the side of the road, and the people attending to him said that he "didn't know who was driving his car". The fire department took 25 minutes to arrive, and the police at least 35 minutes. I offered information to two police officers, but they wouldn't even take my name or number. I directed them to the male passenger of the dying woman, as he lay on the ground, and the police DIDN'T EVEN GET HIS NAME. Hawaii police are PATHETIC. I have six pictures of this accident on my photobucket page,

  3. opeluboy says:

    I couldn't agree more, Jeff.

  4. funkyp says:

    tell it like it is,bro,…………..sad, REAL SAD !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. Dane Thomas says:

    Stella was my cousin.

    Jeff, my family and I would appreciate it if you would contact Officer Thomas Koyanagi at 326-4646, extension 229 and tell him everything that you saw.


    • Hawaii 24/7 says:

      I believe this is Stella filmed by a colleague recently for Big Island Video News.

    • Jeff says:

      Yes, I did call the number, and I told the officer what I saw about the driving of Robert Smith, prior to the accident, and how I predicted that he would cause an accident, based on his driving.

      And to whom it may concern, someone may have burglarized Smith's car, after the Fire Department arrived. I remember seeing a gas can in the back of Smith's car, before the Fire Department arrived, and quite possibly a chain saw as well. Then, AFTER the Fire Department had arrived, I saw a man walking north past Stella's car, and he was carrying a chain saw and a gas can, that looked like the one from Smith's car. The man was wearing shorts, a t-shirt, and he had curly, dark hair, and he was clean-shaven. He was White, with a dark tan, and he was dirty. I noticed that Robert Smith was extremely dirty too, so perhaps the two know each other, or perhaps this is an opportunistic burglary.

    • chani santos says:

      can u tell me if this was the same stella corona that went to downey highschool in modesto, ca,? if it is, i remember her fondly and was in the same graduating class as her. my condolences to the family and to all her friends

    • shirley miller says:

      hi dane,

      i knew stella too, and i think i knew you when we were younger. did your parents own thomas masonry? my mom is julie miller, she worked there for years. i am so sorry about stella, it's completely devastating. take care,

      • ed corona says:

        Shirley please tell your mother thanks the kind words. It is so hard for Natalie her mother Monica and I knowing we will never see her agatn. It seems like yesterday we where all together.

  6. Sifu C says:

    I agree with Dane. Jeff please contact the officer mentioned to further help put this guy behind bars. At least you tried contacting the correct individual in charge. I am a good friend of both and really think you should try again.

  7. Ginger says:

    Stella was making a difference in this world, and to be taken from Earth by a loser that has NOTHING going for him in life makes this crime so much more senseless. He is a habitual DUI driver, he hasn't learned his lesson so its time our government to wake up and throw away the key on this one. In my opinion Smith has no right to be walking on this earth. People that offend and break our laws need to be punished severely, not just get a light tap. This could of very well of been prevented.
    I did not know Ms. Corona, and I do not even live in Hawaii, but from what that video shows me-Ms. Corona was an outstanding person making this world a little bit brighter. I do not understand why people such as her are taken from this Earth, and people like Smith get to stay-to drink another drink and kill someone again in the future…Peace -Ginger

  8. Chloe says:

    I cannot believe that this scumbag, repeatedly endangered lives until he finally took one of the most amazing persons life that I've ever met. She was truly the most genuine positive person with an amazing smile and drive for life. Why is it that the drunk driver always survives when they are the least deserving to continue living? There aren't enough good things I can say about Stella and the idea of her life being cut short, it's beyond sickening. Putting this killer away for life isn't justice, sentencing him to death isn't justice, this is truly tragic and nothing can replace her.

  9. Ginger says:

    Only God knows why I stumbled upon this article, I do not live in Hawaii. I did not know Ms. Corona, but I know if I did, I would love her. This story has touched me in so many ways. I would like to know what happens in this case, if Smith got sentenced, how much time, etc. I would love if someone were to update me please. God Bless.

    • Jen says:

      You would have loved Stella if you knew her. She was always happy! There were a lot of us who went to school with her from elementary all the way through high school. Most of us still keep in contact with at least a few classmates, I am sure Stella kept in contact with the most. Every time she came home she would try to see as many of us as she could. I will miss her laugh and her smile the most.

      • Ginger says:

        Jen, I am very sure that if Stella and I had met, we would of been the best of friends. I watched the video from the above link, and you can see the brilliant glow radiating all around Stella's face, she possessed a beautiful aura. Her work with the children was so touching. She had so much to be proud of and she accomplished so much at such a young age. She will forever be in the hearts of those she touched.

  10. Kelly says:

    Thank you Jeff for all you did and are still trying to do. Stella was a childhood friend of mine and I am still in shock that she is gone. I can not beleive anyone would defend a pile of S*** like this man. He killed my friend and a wonderfull, strong women who was making a difference in this world. I can not believe he was released, just a slap in the face to all that loved Stella. She deserves justice, her family and friends deserve justice.RIP Stella you are missed by so many :(

  11. Amanda says:

    Jeff, I am….was….Stella's cousin too, and I would like also like to say thank you for all the eyewitness evidence that you provided to the police. I, and my family, really appreciate your help and concern.

  12. Ginger says:

    May I ask how everyone else involved in the accident are doing?

  13. Kelly says:

    does anybody know if Christian Pacheco was involved in the accident or does anyone know of any other big car accidents on the big island, thanks.
    my condolences to Stella's family & friends.

  14. I have been following the case of Robert W. Smith, since I saw what he did to Stella Corona and photographed the murder scene. I testified to the Grand Jury in September, 2012, and contributed to the true finding. I waited to be called as a witness in the trial, but was never called. I have struggled and struggled to find out what is happening to the killer, Robert W. Smith, but with little success. The only thing I have found on the internet is that he had pleaded guilty to negligent homicide, and that he was scheduled to be sentenced on February 12, 2013. But that’s all I know. Knowing Hawaii, he was probably sentenced to a few years of probation, and he’s off getting high somewhere.

  15. Dale says:

    So sad to read of this terrible crash and the waste of life. Having lived on the Big Island from ’93 to ’96 and still owning a lot in South Kona, I know that stretch of highway and as Jeff stated it can be a treacherous ride. However…there is absolutely no road in the world dangerous enough that it excuses a driver from driving safely, that’s common sense and it’s the law (at least in the USA). I’ve seen my share of crazy drivers in Hawaii, reading Jeff’s first post about seeing Mr. Smith’s impaired driving brought back bad memories of the people who just lose their critical thinking altogether after living in Hawaii for a while. They get so slack, they don’t take anything seriously, start doing nasty drugs and drinking too much. Jeff’s words were like the ones that ran through my head on more than a few occasions while driving in HI. This is not to condemn the vast majority of HI residents of all backgrounds who are some of the friendliest and honest people on earth. Hawaii is a wonderful place but some people just can’t handle it that good…no filter. My sympathies to Stella’s family and especially to her as she suffered the most but undoubtedly is now in heaven. Thanks to Jeff for standing up for her, going to court to do the right thing and for doing his part in keeping our society decent!


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