Man admits theft, drug charges
Daniel Vesper injured a police officer while trying to flee in a stolen vehicle
A man convicted last year of attempting to kill a Honolulu police officer by running him over in a stolen van, seriously injuring him, has admitted to several unrelated charges.
Daniel Vesper, 43, pleaded guilty yesterday before Circuit Judge Virginia Crandall to first-degree criminal property damage and auto theft in a Nov. 20 incident in Kalihi where he repeatedly reversed and struck another car while trying to flee in a stolen vehicle. The owner of an auto body shop who was attempting to detain him for suspicion of stealing a bicycle suffered minor injuries.
Vesper also pleaded guilty yesterday to promoting a dangerous drug in the third degree and possession of drug paraphernalia. When he was arrested a day after allegedly running down police officer Jeffrey Omai, police found a fanny pack he wore, containing a pipe with a small amount of crystal methamphetamine residue.
Just before trial last October, Vesper also pleaded guilty to auto theft and two counts of robbery in the first and second degree. The day before he ran over Omai on Dec. 2, 2004, he hijacked a van belonging to a newspaper delivery van driver. He then drove to Manoa, where he threatened a man on a mo-ped with a bat and stole his vehicle.
Police were looking for Vesper in connection with the two hijackings when they learned he had been spotted in the stolen van parked in one of the lots at the community college. Undercover officers converged on him but he fled, striking Omai, putting him in a coma for several days. Omai suffered a brain injury and continues to recover, but doctors say long-term effects are difficult to predict.
Vesper maintained it was an accident and that Omai had jumped in front of his van to be a hero.
But prosecutors argued that he struck Omai because he was cornered and he hated police. At the hospital following his arrest, Vesper told officers guarding him that he knew he had run over a cop and that he would do it again if he had the chance.
Vesper will be sentenced on all three cases on March 28.