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Lahaina theft investigation and subsequent Honoapiʻilani crash ends with truck in ocean

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Lahaina traffic crash (2.9.22) PC: Maui Police Department

An investigation into a possible vehicle theft in Lahaina, ended with two suspects involved in a rollover motor vehicle accident that forced the temporary closure of the Honoapiʻilani Highway for at least two hours, Wednesday. The vehicle they were in allegedly accelerated to speeds in excess of 70 mph before crashing and landing in the ocean.  

Lahaina Patrol Officers were called to the parking lot of an apartment complex at 3788 Lower Honoapiʻilani Road for a report of a possible unauthorized entry into a motor vehicle incident at 7:24 a.m. on Feb. 9, 2022.

The alleged two suspects–a male, and a female–were reported to be operating a light blue/silver Toyota pickup, according to department reports.

Police say an officer located the vehicle traveling south on Honoapiʻilani Highway at the intersection of Keawe Street and was able to identify the 26-year-old female driver as a person of interest in another case.  “Upon approaching Shaw Street, the operator of the Toyota initially slowed before suddenly accelerating through the intersection, against the red light,” according to police reports.

Police say the officer initiated a traffic stop, but as the Toyota approached Aholo Road, “the driver continued to accelerate away from the officer, exceeding 70 mph.” 

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“Due to the fact, the officer was able to identify the driver, and for the safety of everyone on the road, the officer made the decision to stop pursuing the vehicle,” according to police.  Information regarding the vehicle and operator was transmitted to all units in Lahaina via police dispatch.

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At approximately 7:28 a.m., as officers were conducting checks along Honoapiʻilani Highway in the area of Mile 17 often referred to as “Cut Mountain,” an officer heard the loud revving of an engine and stepped off the roadway. Shortly after, the Toyota passed the officer, heading southbound, according to department reports.

Another officer turned right from the Lahaina Bypass Road onto Honoapiʻilani Highway, heading makai. In doing so, the Toyota was observed traveling past the officer heading mauka, turning right to head south on the Lahaina Bypass Road. The officer conducted a U-turn to follow but lost sight of the vehicle, police said.

At approximately 7:37 a.m., the officer saw a “cloud of dust” on the makai side of the Lahaina Bypass Road before seeing a motor vehicle collision at milepost 0.

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Police say the Toyota collided into the rear of a Black 2019 GMC Yukon, causing the Yukon to lose control and collide into a Black 2016 GMC Canyon.  After colliding into the Yukon, the Toyota began to roll over several times, colliding with the Yukon again, before coming to a rest upright on the rocky shore.

The driver of the Toyota continued to drive and ended up in the water, according to department reports.

Police say witnesses informed officers that the male exited the Toyota and was fleeing on foot, northbound along the rocky shoreline.  Officers found the 19-year-old male swimming out into the water and were able to take him into custody.

Officers found the female of the Toyota within the vehicle and called for medic and fire personnel to respond to injuries and assist with removing her from the vehicle.

Both occupants of the Toyota were transported to the Maui Memorial Medical Center Emergency Room for further medical treatment, where they remained on Thursday afternoon.

Other individuals involved in the motor vehicle collision were treated and released on the scene.

Police say an investigation into other crimes allegedly committed by the responsible individuals remains active and ongoing.

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