Man guilty of 13 counts in car chase
A Circuit Court jury found a 28-year-old man not guilty of attempting to kill a police officer but convicted him of 13 counts of first-degree criminal property damage for striking 13 cars as he tried to flee police in a stolen van.
Patrick Masaoka faces a 10-year term for each of the 13 felony counts that occurred Dec. 14, 2005, as he tried to squeeze the van he was driving between two lanes of cars stopped on Kalanianaole Highway, west of Kalani High School.
He was also convicted of car theft, two drug offenses and second-degree reckless endangering.
Deputy Prosecutor Scott Bell said he will ask the court to order Masaoka to serve the 10-year terms one after the other because he was on parole at the time and knew the van was stolen.
Masaoka's sentence in a previous forgery case had been reduced to six months from a mandatory three years and four months. Had Masaoka served the mandatory term, he would not have been out committing further crimes, Bell said.
Defense attorney Cliff Hunt said Masaoka was wrong in ramming the 13 cars but that he was only trying to get away. He characterized police's handling of the chase as a "botched roadblock" and said they violated police procedures. "You don't block traffic to stop a stolen vehicle," he said. "They didn't consider the risk that someone would try to flee."
Masaoka's passenger, Randy Ah Nee, pleaded guilty earlier to two drug charges and received a five-year prison term.