COURTESY PHOTO / HAWAIIAN VOLCANO OBSERVATORY
Lava levels in a recently created fissure on Kilauea Volcano dropped Monday morning.
New lava flow reaches forest
Lava flows from Kilauea Volcano continued to flow to the northeast from the fissure that opened July 21, the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory reported yesterday. A new flow to the north of previous flows is burning forest vegetation, the observatory said.
The eruption site in the Kahaualea Natural Area Reserve remains closed to the public due to potential hazards from fires, noxious gases and methane explosions.
Driver in fatal crash admits guilt
A Honolulu man has admitted to negligently causing the deaths of two passengers, including his half-brother, in a truck crash in 2003.
Jonathan Namauu, 35, entered guilty pleas Monday before Circuit Judge Richard Perkins to two counts of first-degree negligent homicide.
He also pleaded guilty as charged to second- and third-degree assault stemming from injuries sustained by two other passengers.
His plea averts a trial this week on manslaughter and assault charges stemming from the Feb. 1, 2003, crash. Instead of facing a 20-year prison term had he been convicted, he now faces a 10-year term on the amended charges.
Namauu, who contends he cannot remember what happened that night, acknowledged that he was intoxicated and speeding. Police say he lost control of the truck on Kalanianaole Highway near Bell Street in Waimanalo, went off the roadway and flipped over, ejecting himself and six passengers in the truck bed.
The two who died, Jamie Singleton, 17, and Namauu's half-brother, Zebeedee Leahy, 21, were sitting in the truck bed.
Defense attorney Keith Shigetomi said Namauu agreed to plead guilty to the reduced charges because he wanted closure.
"He has moved on and feels remorse, particularly for his half-brother," he said.
Namauu will remain free on bail until his sentencing Dec. 12.
Families of Namauu's passengers have filed lawsuits against him.
Downed H-2 trees to be replaced
The state Transportation Department has agreed to replace trees that were cut down earlier this summer along the H-2 freeway in Mililani with mostly monkeypod trees.
After a public outcry complaining of the state's tree removal project and strong push by the environmental group Outdoor Circle, the state said it will replant 38 trees within the next few months.
Scott Ishikawa, transportation spokesman, said they plan on replanting 16 monkeypod, seven crepe myrtle and 15 kou trees.
"The reason we're planting so many monkeypods is that we think they have the best chance of surviving next to the albizia," Ishikawa said, referring to the type of tree mostly found along the freeway that is known to be invasive and fast-growing.
The crepe myrtle, which is a non-native tree like the monkeypod, will add color to landscape. Kou is a native tree, Ishikawa said.
Ishikawa said the state will also discuss with Outdoor Circle the gradual replacement of 40 small albizia trees since they will become a maintenance problem later.
Crew members are still pruning and removing certain trees along the freeway since the state suspended the job in July so arborists from Outdoor Circle could inspect the trees marked for removal.
Ishikawa said he expects the replanting of the new trees to begin in October or November.
Police, Fire, Courts
Girl's acquaintance accused in rape
A 24-year-old man was arrested Monday after he was accused of raping a 15-year-old girl.
The two are acquaintances, and the girl told her mother that she was sexually assaulted on Aug. 22 at her Honolulu-area home. The suspect was arrested at his Likini Street home Monday night on suspicion of first-degree sexual assault.
Man allegedly steals from wife
Police arrested a 26-year-old man accused of stealing money from his wife after drinking with her Monday night.
The suspect and his 24-year-old wife had a few drinks after dinner. Police said the two had an argument on the way home about 8 p.m. He got upset and allegedly took his wife's purse with $300 before running away.
He was later arrested near their Hawaii Kai home on suspicion of second-degree theft.
2 people nabbed for entering car
Police arrested two people on suspicion of unauthorized entry into a vehicle yesterday after conducting surveillance for auto thieves.
About 8:30 p.m., crime reduction units saw a 27-year-old man allegedly enter a parked vehicle at a Ward Avenue lot. The man also spoke with a 23-year-old woman at another parked vehicle nearby, and police saw the man allegedly take a bag from inside the car. Police arrested the two afterward.
Man held in woman's stabbing
Police are investigating the stabbing of a woman in Maili, and the suspect was in hospital custody yesterday morning.
Police have opened an attempted murder case.
At 7:52 a.m. yesterday, police responded to a call of a woman suffering from multiple stab wounds at 87-820 Farrington Highway in Maili.
The woman, who appeared to be in her 40s, was transported to the Queen's Medical Center in serious condition, suffering from a wound in the neck.
Emergency services spokesman Bryan Cheplic said the 43-year-old suspect was taken to the Hawaii Medical Center West in stable condition, while doctors looked into his mental state.