Maui Officer Dragged by Vehicle, 2 Arrested
By Wendy Osher
Two Maui residents were charged with assault of a law enforcement officer after the vehicle they were in allegedly dragged an officer 15 to 20 feet during a traffic investigation in Paia on Friday, police said.
The incident was reported at 9:25 p.m. on Friday August 24, 2012, at the intersection of Baldwin and Hana Highway.
According to police reports, Officer Stuart Kunioka was investigating a motor vehicle accident when he approached the driver’s side door of a vehicle being operated by Kula resident, Cara Aquinde.
Police say the vehicle accelerated away from the officer while he was speaking with Aquinde, and while he was attempting to have her move the vehicle off the roadway.
Through investigation, police say it appears that Officer Kunioka’s traffic vest was caught on the driver’s side mirror when the vehicle accelerated.
Police say the officer was dragged 15 to 20 feet before he was released, striking his head on the pavement as he hit the roadway. Officer Kunioka was treated and released from the hospital after sustaining a contusion to the back of his head, a concussion, and an abrasion to his right arm in the incident, police said.
According to police reports, Aquinde fled the scene, and only stopped when she crashed into a dirt embankment approximately two miles from the scene.
During the investigation, police say it was learned that Aquinde’s front seat passenger, identified as Rowan G.K. Lee of Haiku, allegedly aided in the attempt to flee police. Police reports say it appeared that Lee either reached down or leaned over to the driver’s side of the vehicle, allegedly pushed Aquinde’s right leg down, grabbed a hold of the steering wheel, and yelled at Aquinde to flee.
In addition to Aquinde and Lee, Maui Police say there were others in the cab of the vehicle, as well as three passengers in the bed of the vehicle.
Police say Aquinde was allegedly driving at a high rate of speed and in a reckless manner when the vehicle she was in fled the scene.
Aquinde was arrested and charged with: Operating a Motor Vehicle under the Influence of an Intoxicant; Resisting an Order to Stop a Motor Vehicle; Reckless Driving; Accidents Involving Damages to Vehicle or Property; Accidents Involving Substantial Injury; Inattention to Driving; Reckless Endangering II; and Assault Against a Law Enforcement Officer I.
She was being held at the Wailuku Police station in lieu of $19,000 bail.
Lee was arrested and charged with: Operating a Motor Vehicle under the Influence of an Intoxicant; Consuming or Possessing Intoxicating Liquor while a Passenger in a Motor Vehicle; and Assault Against a Law Enforcement Officer I.
Lee was released after posting $8,000 bail.