Ex-police recruit sentenced to prison
A week shy of graduating from the Ke Kula Makai Police Academy, Ernie Gomez threatened his wife with a loaded gun because he believed she was cheating on him.
Yesterday, a state judge ordered Gomez, 27, a former Army soldier and currently a Hawaii National Guardsman, to a mandatory minimum of five years in prison with no parole for using a semiautomatic gun during the May 2004 incident at the couple's Ewa Beach home.
Circuit Judge Michael Town acknowledged Gomez's military service but said he was bound by the law.
"In my view it's certainly an onerous sentence to impose on somebody who's served his country honorably," Town said. "You made a very bad illegal criminal mistake, but it is the law."
A jury found Gomez guilty in February of first-degree terroristic threatening and abuse of a household member. His then-wife, Sherly Gomez, had testified that he had punched, kicked and threatened her with the gun and also a knife in view of their 2-year-old daughter.
Gomez resigned from the academy shortly after the incident. The couple has since divorced.
Applications for HMSA scholarships available
Applications for the Hawaii Medical Service Association's (HMSA) Kaimana Awards & Scholarship Program for scholar-athletes are available online. The program will award 21 college scholarships in 2006 to high school seniors based on athletic and academic achievement, community involvement and sportsmanship. Each scholarship is worth $2,000. Three distinguished recipients will receive an additional $1,000.
Applications can be found at www.HMSA.com and at www. hhsaa.org, the Hawaii High School Athletic Association's Web page.
Police, Fire, Courts
By Star-Bulletin staff
Teen pedestrian hit by car is in critical condition
A teenage pedestrian was critically injured last night after he was struck by a vehicle on Kamehameha Highway in front of Windward Mall.
The accident occurred before 7:12 p.m. in the Kailua-bound lanes between Haiku Road and Mehana Street, police said.
The boy was taken to the Queen's Medical Center in critical condition and was in "extremely critical" condition upon arrival, according to emergency personnel.
Police shut Kamehameha Highway while police traffic investigators examined the scene.
Police seek man who hit woman, took purse
Police are looking for a man in his 40s who robbed a 52-year-old woman Dec. 1 in Waikiki.
The woman was waiting at a bus stop on the corner of Kalakaua Avenue and Ena Road at about 3:15 p.m. when a man grabbed her purse. When the woman hit the suspect with her cane, he punched her and threw her to the ground, police said.
The woman received a cut above her left eye and swelling to her left knee.
The suspect was last seen heading mauka on McCully Street. He is described as 6 feet tall, 240 pounds, with brown shoulder-length hair, brown eyes, a ring on his left eyebrow, wearing black shorts and no shirt.
Anyone with information is asked to call CrimeStoppers at 955-8300 or *CRIME on a cell phone.
Man arrested driving stolen motorcycle
Police arrested a 34-year-old man who was allegedly driving a stolen motorcycle on a sidewalk.
Officers witnessed a man operating a motorcycle on a sidewalk in a Wahiawa neighborhood at about 11:15 a.m. Wednesday.
They learned that the motorcycle had been reported stolen, and arrested the driver for investigation of auto theft.
Hilo man riding in back of pickup dies in crash
A 37-year-old Hilo man died Tuesday after being thrown from a pickup truck that hit an embankment alongside the highway.
Police said the truck was heading west on Highway 19 about 29 miles outside of Hilo at about 4:30 a.m. when it hydroplaned on a wet roadway, crossed the center line and hit the embankment.
Alfredo Raquedan was thrown from the back of the pickup, along with an 18-year-old man and a 17-year-old boy, police said.
Raquedan and a front-seat passenger were taken to Hilo Medical Center, where Raquedan died several hours later. The front-seat passenger, a 53-year-old Hilo man, was treated for minor injuries.
The 17-year-old who was in the back of the truck was also treated for minor injuries. The 18-year-old was in serious condition at North Hawaii Community Hospital.
The driver, a 34-year-old Hilo man, was not injured.
Man who burglarized Kona home sought
Big Island police are looking for a man in his 20s who allegedly burglarized an elderly woman's home in Kona on Monday.
The woman arrived home to find a stranger sitting in a truck in her driveway, police said.
After a couple of minutes, the man drove off. When the woman entered her home, she found the bedrooms ransacked and items taken, police said.
Police said the break-in occurred Monday between 9:45 and 11:30 a.m. on Palani Road, near the junction of Highways 180 and 190 in Kailua-Kona.
The suspect is described as having a thin build, light eyes, medium-brown complexion and curly, reddish-brown, shoulder-length hair. The truck was described as a run-down black, mid- to full-size pickup with a hole in the driver's-side windshield.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Officer Kristi Crivello at 326-4646, the non-emergency police number at 935-3311 or CrimeStoppers at 961-8300 or 329-8181.
Hazardous fluid identified in Maui spill
WAILUKU » Maui fire officials investigating a potential hazardous material spill at the county landfill earlier this week said a test showed a sample of soaked soil contained a chemical used in lighter fluid.
Battalion Chief Alan Pascua said yesterday that instructions in the handling of the chemical oxybutanal warns it should not be ingested or inhaled.
Fire officials closed Pulehu Road near the county landfill for about five hours before reopening it at 8:45 p.m. Monday.
A county landfill worker went home Monday morning because of dizziness, and another was treated and later released from a hospital that afternoon.
Pascua said the substance was difficult to identify because it apparently was run over by a bulldozer and mixed with rubbish.