Police seek witnesses to fatal Kalaoa accident


Big Island police are seeking witnesses to an accident that killed a 3-year-old boy Wednesday evening in Kalaoa.

Joel Peter was a rear-seat passenger in a pickup truck driven by his 38-year-old father, Pedro Peter, according to the Hawaii Police Department, which learned of the incident after receiving a report at 6:41 p.m. from Kona Community Hospital. The father drove the boy to the hospital where he was pronounced dead at 6:43 p.m.

Police investigation determined that the boy’s sister thought their father had parked the truck and subsequently opened the rear passenger door, at which time the boy fell out of the vehicle. The father, not knowing his son had fallen out, continued up the driveway and ran over the child, according to police.

Anyone in the vicinity of Matsuyama Food Mart off Mamalahoa Highway between 6 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. who may have witnessed the incident should call Officer Thomas Koyanagi at 326-4646, ext. 229.

The father, his 32-year-old wife and three girls, ages 4, 4 and 6, who were in the cab, as well as two male relatives in the truck’s bed were not injured, according to police.

The 38-year-old was arrested on suspicion of negligent homicide, driving without a license, failure to have no-fault motor vehicle insurance and four counts of failure to use child restraints, according to police. He was also arrested on an outstanding warrant for failure to appear.

He remains in police custody.

Police do not suspect speed, alcohol or drugs to be contributing factors in the crash. An autopsy has been ordered to determine the exact cause of death.