Friday, March 23, 2001

Fugitive Rip
Van Winkle wakes
up in custody

He falls asleep at the wheel
and arrives back at the police
station with a bang

By Rod Antone

A fugitive from the Laumaka work furlough program turned himself in to the Honolulu Police Department yesterday morning. More specifically, it was a left turn.

Dwayne Medeiros, 28, told police officers he fell asleep at the wheel, and that's why he crashed into the front steps of HPD's Beretania Street headquarters at 7:33 a.m.

But before Medeiros' vehicle came to a stop, police said he severed a traffic light pole at the corner of Beretania and Halemakai streets, dragged the pole on the car's roof while driving on the sidewalk and plowed over metal handrails of HPD's front stairway entrance.

"My God, people could have been walking on that sidewalk," said Lt. Kathy Ferreira of HPD's Major Crimes unit.

Ferreira said after bystanders helped Medeiros out of the car, officers started running checks. That was when they discovered that Medeiros had been a fugitive since March 12.

"He had a bad experience," said Detective Richard Kellitz of Medeiros' unsuccessful run from the law. Kellitz said Medeiros suffered minor injuries from the car's airbag. The car, he said, was not stolen but "borrowed" from an acquaintance.

Medeiros had earlier been convicted of drug promotion and was on work furlough when he decided not to return to the Laumaka facility 11 days ago.

Kellitz said Medeiros has a hearing scheduled for April, but could not confirm whether it was parole-related.

Police have arrested Medeiros for escape, and he remains in custody. Kellitz said as of last night he had not had a chance to question Medeiros because he had been "sleeping" since the accident.

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