Civil Suit Settled in the '91 Death of Dana Ireland
Kin expect indictment very soon
February 9, 1996
HILO, Hawaii - A Nebraska insurance firm representing the state and Hawaii County has reached an out-of-court settlement with the family of Dana Ireland, who was raped and killed during Christmas 1991.
The terms and dollar amount of the settlement were ordered sealed by Circuit Judge Riki Mae Amano until the pending criminal case is completed.
There has been no criminal indictment thus far, but the Ireland family expects one in March or April.
The parties, including Dana Ireland's parents, John and Louise Ireland, would not discuss the civil suit settlement.
People involved in the case indicated a six-figure amount, and one attorney said the taxpayers would not pay directly. The Nebraska-based Acceptance Insurance Co. had sold the county a $1 million policy to cover its liability in search-and-rescue and ambulance operations.
The Ireland family sued the state over what it felt was a slow response by Hawaii Country paramedics once they were notified about Dana Ireland.
On Christmas Ever 1991, Ireland, 23, was abducted and assaulted. She was found on an unpaved road northeast of Kapoho, bleeding to death.
Ireland died early on Christmas Day at Hilo Medical Center. The family contended that paramedics were slow in reaching Ireland in the remote area of Waawaa. It took 41 minutes for a county ambulance to reach Ireland. By the time the ambulance arrived, nearly an hour had elapsed since authorities first learned about the victim.
Dana Ireland's parents, who are in seclusion in Puna, said they are satisfied that the civil case is closed. They are now awaiting an indictment on the criminal case.
In the criminal investigation, police reportedly have an eyewitness to the crime who is imprisoned on Maui on unrelated drug convictions.
Police said they sent their final synopsis of the case to prosecutor Charlene Iboshi on Jan. 8.
The civil lawsuit, filed by Ireland's parents and her only sister in 1992, named the country Fire Department and state Health Department, which pay for paramedics.
Under court order, the insurance company was forced to defend the county in the suit. The Irelands' attorney, Sherry Broder, insisted the civil case proceed ahead of the criminal case. Retired Judge Shunichi Kimura agreed.
The insurance firm lost a bid to be excused from the suit because the county was negligent and careless.