Repeat drunken driver imprisoned
HILO » A Big Island judge has sentenced a man to five years in prison for habitually driving under the influence of alcohol.
It was the sixth conviction for Keith Evans Birchland Sr. for drunken driving.
As he was leaving the courtroom following the sentence by Circuit Judge Glenn Hara Tuesday, Birchland remarked that he would be out on parole in six months.
Judges set the maximum sentence for defendants and the Hawaii Paroling Authority sets the minimum.
Birchland also told the judge during sentencing that sending him to prison would be a waste of taxpayers' money because he had been to prison before and it had not helped his alcoholism, according to Deputy Prosecutor Rick Damerville.
Hara replied that putting Birchland in prison would protect the community while he was behind bars.
Birchland was already on probation for a prior charge of habitually operating a vehicle under the influence of intoxicants when he hit another vehicle stopped for a traffic light on Sept. 17. Police determined that Birchland was "highly intoxicated," Damerville said.
Birchland will be resentenced later for the prior offense of habitually driving while intoxicated.
Birchland also has separate charges pending for driving with his license suspended and driving without insurance.
Before the "habitual" charges, he had four prior convictions for drunken driving.
Pua Lane targeted for cleanup
The city and community volunteers will clean up the Pua Lane area of Palama for an Adopt-A-Block project at 8:30 a.m. July 7.
The area is located behind the St. Elizabeth's Episcopal Church on Kanoa Street. Volunteers from Parents and Children Together, Weed and Seed Community Care Group and other organizations will participate in the cleanup.
The city coordinator, Iwalani Sato, said volunteers will remove trash, graffiti, pass out pollution prevention fact sheets and stencil storm drains to remind citizens not to dump waste in the drains. The city will also distribute T-shirts to volunteers and community members.
Volunteers may sign up at www.cleanwaterhonolulu.com/storm/contact/contact.html or call the Adopt-A-Block program at 692-5208. For more information, call the leader of the Adopt-A-Block project, Fetu Taua Kolia, at 779-7687.
Police, Fire, Courts
Home invasion prompts search
Big Island police are looking for a 44-year-old man wanted in connection with a home invasion robbery Tuesday in a rural area of South Kona.
Police have issued an all-points bulletin for Harry Hose, who has no permanent address.
Police said a man allegedly confronted a 15-year-old girl while she was home alone 3 p.m. Tuesday, allegedly prevented her from leaving and said he was going to steal items from the property.
The home is located off Highway 11.
Police determined that five medical marijuana plants between two and three feet tall were taken from the property.
Detectives are looking for Hose in connection with robbery and kidnapping charges. He is described as Hawaiian, 5-foot 6, 200 pounds, with brown eyes and black hair.
Members of the public should not approach Hose, a convicted felon who is considered dangerous.
Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to call Detective Sharlotte Bird at 326-4646, ext. 275, or the Police Department's nonemergency number, 935-3311.
Man, 38, arrested in theft from car
A 38-year-old man was arrested Tuesday night after neighbors spotted him allegedly stealing from a car.
About 8 p.m., neighbors on Lusitana Street saw the suspect allegedly removing parts from the engine area of a vehicle, police said.
When officers arrived, the man was still at the vehicle searching its trunk. He was arrested on suspicion of unauthorized entry of a vehicle.
Stop for DUI ends with bribery arrest
A 23-year-old Kaneohe man was arrested on suspicion of bribery after he offered a police officer $100 to avoid a drunken driving arrest.
The officer stopped the man for speeding on the H-3 freeway in Kaneohe at 12:35 a.m. Tuesday . He was about to arrest the man for suspicion of operating a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant, when the suspect offered the officer $100 not to arrest him and let him go free.
In addition to the bribery offense, the officer also arrested him on suspicion of driving under the influence of an intoxicant, excessive speeding and consuming or possessing intoxicating liquor while driving.
Driver hits home, injuring occupant
KAPAHI, Kauai » A driver crashed into a home just after 11 p.m. Sunday, injuring a man sitting in his living room watching television.
He was treated at Wilcox Hospital for non-life-threatening injuries, county officials said.
The driver of the vehicle, who had just led police on a chase after a traffic stop in Kapaa, fled the scene on foot. However, a woman drove by the crime scene and told police that the man was hiding in her home a few doors down.
Christopher Almeida, 28, of Kapaa, was arrested and charged with resisting arrest, reckless driving, first-degree criminal property damage, unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle, and drunk driving. He is being held at the police cellblock in lieu of $23,650 bail.
Man's body found at Kauai beach
The body of a man was found on shore about 11:30 a.m. yesterday at Larson's Beach on Kauai, the same beach where a 42-year-old Washington man was swept off the reef Sunday with his pregnant wife.
County officials would not speculate whether the body could be that of missing Roy Overstreet of Bellingham, Wash.
An autopsy and positive identification must be made first before officials will release information concerning the body.