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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, February 11, 2002

Two killed, four hurt in auto crashes on Big Island

By Hugh Clark
Advertiser Big Island Bureau

WAIMEA, Hawai'i — A 13-year-old girl and a hotel worker were killed in separate Big Island traffic accidents during the weekend, both in South Kohala.

Kaitlyn Rae Higgins of Pa'auilo died Saturday afternoon when the 2002 Subaru she was riding in went off Waikoloa Road and down an embankment, uprooting several trees.

Kaitlyn's brother Ryan Higgins, 13, was injured in the accident. The two were part of a set of triplets. Ryan was a backseat passenger.

The driver, Jeremiah Vrooman, 20, is their brother-in-law, said Sgt. Samuel Jelsma.

All three had to be extricated from the wreckage.

Vrooman and Ryan Higgins were reported in guarded but stable condition at North Hawai'i Hospital in Waimea.

Kaitlyn, the front-seat passenger, was taken to Kona Community Hospital, where she was pronounced dead at 4:43 p.m.

Jelsma said Vrooman was driving toward Kona to complete purchase of the car. Police said speed may have been a factor in the crash.

At 5:46 a.m. yesterday, Ador Laguisma of Hilo died near Waimea after his 1987 Nissan Maxima drifted over the center line and collided head-on with a Dodge pickup driven by Leighton Holi, 32, of Kea'au, near the intersection of Pu'u Nani Drive and Hawai'i Belt Road.

Both drivers worked for the same Waikoloa hotel, which police did not name. Laguisma, 45, was heading home from work. He had recently changed shifts and was believed to have been fatigued, Jelsma said. He was taken to Kona hospital and pronounced dead at 9:53 a.m.

Holi, who was heading to work, was hospitalized with a hip injury at North Hawai'i Hospital. He was listed in stable condition.

His passenger, Gemer Marzan, 34, of Pepe'ekeo, was in guarded condition.

Everyone involved in the accidents appeared to have been wearing seat belts, police said.

The deaths raised the island's 2002 traffic toll to four, compared with none at this time last year.

Reach Hugh Clark at (808) 935-3916 or hclark@honoluluadvertiser.com.