Man gets 20 years for role in chase
Brandon Molina led police around Oahu in two stolen cars
A Waipahu man who led police on a car chase halfway around Oahu in two stolen cars before crashing in Waipahu was sentenced to 20 years in prison yesterday.
Brandon Ikaika Molina, 24, pleaded guilty in July to two counts of first-degree robbery, first-degree attempted assault on a police officer, car theft and causing an accident involving injury in the March 19, 2004, chase that ended some two hours later.
An accomplice, Frederick J. Morales, pleaded guilty earlier to similar charges and was also sentenced last week to a 20-year term.
Defense attorney David Bettencourt said that Molina has admitted to having a drug problem. Molina apologized to Circuit Judge Virginia Crandall, saying he has accepted responsibility for his conduct.
The chase began in Aiea after a police officer spotted Molina and another man trying to duck beneath the dashboard of a stolen car. The pair took off, apparently with Morales driving, toward Waikiki, over the Pali through Windward Oahu and the North Shore.
Along the way, the car collided with and sideswiped other cars and were shot at by an officer. The officer was helping direct traffic through road construction in Punaluu when the fleeing car clipped him in the thigh. The pair also tried to hijack two cars along the way and were successful in Haleiwa after terrorizing the driver of a pickup truck with a pipe by smashing his windshield.
Molina abandoned Morales in Haleiwa after he was unable to get into the truck quickly enough. He crashed head-on with a motorist in Waipahu, where he fled on foot and was captured.
Deputy Prosecutor Darryl Miyahira unsuccessfully argued that the 20-year term be extended to life based on the multiple offenses. Molina also was awaiting sentencing on 10 unrelated auto thefts and car break-ins that occurred in 2002 and 2003, for which he was awaiting sentencing. Molina will serve concurrent five-year terms on each of those charges.
Crandall concluded that given Molina's age, the 20 years for the robberies was sufficient. It will be up to the Paroling Authority to decide how long he must serve before he can be paroled.