Guilty plea in 2010 S. Kona fatal crash


A 28-year-old Ocean View man recently pleaded guilty to multiple felonies stemming from a 2010 South Kona crash that killed a 26-year-old woman.

Robert W. Smith Jr. pleaded guilty Dec. 11 to charges of first-degree negligent homicide, habitually operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of an intoxicant and two counts of first-degree negligent injury in connection with the Aug. 1, 2010, crash that killed Stella Corona, according to 3rd Circuit Court records. He will be sentenced at 8:30 a.m. Feb. 12 by 3rd Circuit Court Chief Judge Ronald Ibarra in Kealakekua.

Smith, on Aug. 8, entered a not guilty plea to manslaughter, habitually operating a vehicle while under the influence of an intoxicant, first-degree negligent homicide, and two counts each of first-degree negligent injury and second-degree assault, according to court records. He was slated to go on trial Dec. 11.

Corona was the driver of a northbound 1999 Saturn four-door sedan carrying two passengers that was apparently struck by a southbound 2007 Honda two-door sedan driven by Smith.

According to police, Smith had crossed the center line on Hawaii Belt Road, near mile marker 88, and collided with Corona’s car.

Corona died at the scene of the crash. Her two passengers were transported to Kona Community Hospital.

Smith was arrested on multiple charges and later released pending further investigation.

Prosecutors received the case in November 2010. An indictment was handed down by a Kona grand jury in mid-July.

Corona, employed by the University of Hawaii Center at West Hawaii, was an outreach coordinator who helped facilitate summer programs and classes for middle and high school students in West Hawaii.