MAUI COUNTY, Hawaii – A woman described as the “matriarch” of the Maui Police Department died in a car crash Thursday morning while she was chasing a suspect who stole her purse, according to authorities.
Terry Jones was driving a 2018 Honda Pilot around 4:40 a.m. when she lost control and collided with a tree near the intersection of Kula Highway and Haleakala Highway, Maui police disclosed in a press statement.
Jones, 55, suffered massive injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene, the Star Advisor reported.
The woman from Makawao had her purse stolen at an unspecified location and was chasing the suspect north on Kula Highway, police said. She lost control of her vehicle as she was turning right onto Haleakala Highway. She was not strapped in with her seat belt at the time of the collision.
Chief John Pelletier of the Maui Police Department said in a news conference that Jones was his personal assistant and had been employed by the agency for 32 years, according to the Star Advisor.
“This woman was the matriarch … of this department. Everyone knew Terry. Everyone loved Terry,” Pelletier said. “She would do anything for anyone.”
Police did not provide further details regarding the theft of Jones’ purse.
The traffic fatality is the sixth for Maui County this year, according to police.