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Newswatch
Star-Bulletin staff and wire

Friday, March 11, 2005





BOULDER PARTIALLY BLOCKS MAKIKI ROAD

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CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARBULLETIN.COM
A boulder obstructed traffic on Makiki Heights Drive yesterday afternoon after falling from the mountainside near the Hawaii Nature Center. Traffic was contra-flowed for hours as crews worked to move the boulder. Police measured the boulder at about 6 feet 9 inches long and 3 feet 10 inches high.




Victims' families sue over fatal tour crash

The families of two couples killed after their tour helicopter slammed into a cliff on South Kauai sued the tour company yesterday in Circuit Court, alleging negligence.

The Bell 206B helicopter, owned by Bali Hai Helicopter Tours, was on a sightseeing flight from Lihue Airport on Sept. 24 and was near the end of its hour-long flight when it crashed eight miles north of Port Allen, where the chopper is based.

Thomas J. Huemmer, 36, his girlfriend, Tamara A. Zytkowski, 30, both of Avon, Ohio; Willy Braun, 58, and Heike Braun, 39, both of Germany; and the pilot, Shankar Tummala, were killed.

The National Transportation Safety Board has yet to release its findings into the cause of the crash.

The plaintiffs are seeking damages in an amount to be determined at trial.

Bali Hai Tours officials could not be reached for comment.

Charges of sex with inmates filed

BRUSH, Colo. » A former officer at a privately run women's prison where nearly half the inmates are from Hawaii faces a charge of having sex with an inmate, and the former warden faces a charge of being an accessory.

Two other officers and seven inmates at the Brush Correctional Facility are accused of smuggling tobacco into the prison, according to court files released yesterday.

District Attorney Robert Watson filed a charge of unlawful sexual conduct against one former guard, Frederick Henry Woller, 32. Former warden Rick Soares, 57, faces a charge of being an accessory for allegedly hindering "discovery, detection, apprehension, prosecution, conviction or punishment," the documents said.

Soares resigned from Tennessee-based GRW, which owns the 250-bed prison in Morgan County, on Feb. 18.

Alison Morgan, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Corrections, said another officer was charged earlier with sexual misconduct. Having sex with inmates is a felony for correctional officers.

The prison holds 80 inmates from Hawaii, 73 from Colorado and 45 from Wyoming. Morgan said some Hawaii and Wyoming inmates acknowledged they had sex with the guards because they believed they would be returned home, where they would be closer to relatives.





Police, Fire, Courts

Police/Fire

By Star-Bulletin staff




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DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Firemen pried open a locked door and poured water into a room that caught fire yesterday in an apartment building on Pensacola Street. See story below.




BIG ISLAND

Driver dies on Big Isle as his Jeep rolls over

A 44-year-old Kona man was killed Wednesday when he lost control of his 1978 Jeep about a mile south of the intersection between Napoopoo Road and Mamalahoa Highway.

Police have not yet released the man's identity.

The accident happened about 6:10 p.m. when the man was traveling south on Napoopoo Road, lost control of his vehicle and ran off the road. His vehicle then struck an embankment and rolled over.

The driver, who was not wearing a seat belt, was ejected. He was taken to Kona Community Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 8:28 p.m.

The traffic fatality was the 10th on the Big Island so far this year, compared with seven at the same time last year.

Kauai police look into shooting death of man

Kauai police are investigating the shooting death of a 75-year-old Waimea man Wednesday night.

The victim was transported to the Queen's Medical Center with a gunshot wound to his abdomen but died at 10:50 p.m.

Honolulu police said the case is being investigated as an unattended death and does not appear to involve any foul play.

WINDWARD OAHU

Police seek suspect in Waimanalo shooting

Police are looking for a man who allegedly fired a shotgun from his car at another motorist following a traffic incident in Waimanalo.

Police said that about 9:15 p.m. Sunday, a 42-year-old man driving his van made a U-turn in front of another man's car in Waimanalo. Police said the driver of the car then fired a shot at the van's tire. The van driver then sped off, police said.

A few minutes later, a patrol officer saw the suspect driving erratically along Kalanianaole Highway and attempted to stop the vehicle, police said. The suspect sped off and crashed into a concrete pillar near Kumuhau and Waikupanaha streets, police said.

The suspect then fled on foot, police said. Police found a loaded shotgun outside the car and drugs inside, they said. The suspect has only been identified as a 37-year-old man, and the case is being investigated as a second-degree attempted murder.

The van driver reported the incident to police only Wednesday.

Suspect allegedly beat man with flashlight

Police arrested a 38-year-old man Tuesday for allegedly beating another man with a flashlight in Waimanalo last year.

Police said that on Nov. 20 near Waikupanaha Street, two suspects got into an argument with the victim, 56. The suspects then hit the victim in the head with a flashlight and their fists, police said.

The victim suffered multiple fractures and lacerations to his left eye socket, nose and other areas of his face and skull. Police arrested one suspect for investigation of second-degree assault. The other suspect was still at large.

HONOLULU

Police seek man for grand jury indictment


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Police want help finding William H. Yee, 54, who is wanted for a grand jury indictment for securities fraud.

Police said that from May to December 1993, Yee sold shares of "William Yee's School of Financial Services" to investors but failed to open the school or return any money to investors.

Yee, who claimed he was a New York stockbroker, is believed to have left the island but could return periodically and might frequent downtown business areas, police said.

Yee's last known address in Hawaii was 335 Merchant St. He is described as 5 feet 6 inches tall, about 150 pounds, with black hair, brown eyes, and wearing glasses or contacts.

Anyone with information may call Detective Jill Kaui at 529-3852 or CrimeStoppers at 955-8300, *CRIME on a cellular phone.

Makiki apartment fire takes a $500,000 toll

A fire in a Makiki apartment building's recreation center caused half a million dollars in damage yesterday.

The fire took place at the Makiki Plaza, located at 1561 Pensacola St., at 11:13 a.m. Residents said high winds at that time helped fan the flames to reach the fifth-floor balcony above.

"It looked pretty crazy," said 24th-floor resident Tyler Nishimura. "We heard all the sirens and came down to watch."

Firefighters got the blaze under control within 20 minutes. However, by then the flames had already done substantial damage to the rec center and nearby electrical conduits that are used by the entire building. Investigators have not yet determined what started the fire, although the heaviest damage was located in the sauna room.

LEEWARD OAHU

Mo-ped driver injured critically in solo crash

A 30-year-old Nanakuli man was driving a 1995 Yamaha mo-ped recklessly Wednesday on Nanakuli Avenue shortly before he lost control, witnesses told police. The man was thrown from the mo-ped and struck his head on the road. He was taken to the Queen's Medical Center in critical condition.

The accident happened about 6:05 p.m. fronting 89-994 Nanakuli Ave. The driver was not wearing a helmet, police said.



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