Driver in Crash that Occurred Inside Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Sentenced for Negligent Homicide

The driver in a deadly single-vehicle accident that occurred in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park last year was sentenced today in U.S. District Court to 24 months in prison for negligent homicide.

In the early morning of June 12, 2011, Hilo resident Julien Quiocho, then 19, crashed his white Toyota truck into the lava field on the south side of Highway 11 near the 35-mile marker. Both Quiocho and his passenger, 20-year-old Bryson Areola, also of Hilo, were ejected from the vehicle. Areola sustained fatal injuries and was pronounced dead upon arrival at Hilo Medical Center.

Rest In Peace and painted on Hwy 11 by friends the car crash victim. Photo by Bobby Tucker

Both men were seen at a drag race at the park’s Ka‘ū boundary just before the incident. Quiocho suffered critical head and spinal injuries, and was transported by air ambulance to The Queen’s Medical Center in Honolulu, where a blood test revealed a blood alcohol content of 0.13.

In June, Quiocho plead guilty in U.S. District Court to negligent homicide, part of a plea agreement with the prosecutor, Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Song. Today, U.S. District Judge David Alan Ezra handed down the 24-month sentence, plus three years of supervisory release, $7,000 restitution for funeral expenses and 300 hours of community service.

“Drivers need to recognize the consequences of their actions when they are in control of a motor vehicle.  If their actions lead to death, injury and property damage, the courts will levy fines and impose confinement,” said Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Chief Ranger Talmadge Magno. “There is nothing good about this incident, a family is without a son, a child will grow up without a father and a young man is going to prison.”

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