An 18 year old Hilo woman was found dead in a car that had apparently ran off the road and struck a macadamia nut tree sometime between Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.

Police responded to an 8:27 a.m. Wednesday morning call, reporting a crashed car with a deceased driver on Maikalani Drive in the vicinity of Amauulu Street in the rural land area on the north side of the Wailuku River. The victim was identified as Sara Sutton.

Police say they determined that Sutton, the driver and sole occupant of the 2000 Honda two-door sedan, had been traveling west on Maikalani Drive when she ran off the right side of the road just west of Kupulani Street. Sutton struck a macadamia nut tree sometime between 6 p.m. Tuesday and 8:27 a.m. Wednesday. Police say Sutton was wearing a seat belt.

Sutton was taken to Hilo Medical Center, where she was officially pronounced dead at 10:22 a.m.

Traffic Enforcement Unit officers have initiated a coroner's inquest case and have ordered an autopsy to determine the exact cause of death, and police believe that speed and alcohol may have been factors in the crash.

Police ask anyone who has information about Sutton's activities Tuesday evening to call Officer Clarence Davies at 961-8118 or the Police Department's non-emergency line at 935-3311. Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300 in Hilo or 329-8181 in Kona. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.