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Monday, January 22, 2001

Wrong-way H-1
driver faces 10 charges
in multiple crash

By Leila Fujimori

The man who drove the wrong way on the H-1 freeway a year ago, causing a multiple-car crash, will appear in court next month to face 10 criminal charges in connection with the crash, according to Jim Fulton of the city prosecutor's office.

The charges against Benjamin C. Belleza, 57, all misdemeanors, include reckless driving, reckless endangering, failure to render aid, third-degree assault, terroristic threatening and leaving the scene of an accident.

The prosecutor's office issued a penal summons late last week upon learning he had been released from the hospital. Belleza was taken to Queen's Medical Center in critical condition after the Jan. 18, 2000, incident.

Belleza is scheduled to appear in District Court 8:30 a.m. Feb. 9.

Police said Belleza reportedly had been speeding 80 to 90 miles an hour just before 5 a.m. Near the Ward Avenue overpass, he collided head-on with a sedan in which a pregnant woman was riding. The woman delivered a healthy baby boy 3 1/2 hours later. Five other cars received minor damage.

Belleza also was reportedly seen at Kapiolani Hospital, where he may have threatened a security guard and a couple with a knife. Police say Belleza was taking prescription drugs.

E-mail to City Desk

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