Tuesday, April 3, 2001

This red Mustang was hit by another car and pushed into
this hedge of the parking lot at the corner of Coral and
Halekauwila streets. The driver hit many cars during
what police called a crime spree.

Wild driver rams
six vehicles

Eventually arrested,
the man terrorizes
pedestrians en route

By Nelson Daranciang

Chrissy Eugene was barely three days into her new job when she heard tires screeching in the parking lot in front of the office at about 9 a.m. yesterday.

"We looked out the glass door, and we could see him pushing the car, so we ran outside," Eugene said.

Eugene and her co-workers at Chaney Brooks & Co., 606 Coral St., saw a parked car being pushed from behind toward the front of their office by another car. The parked car had moved about 30 feet, hitting a second parked car before the driver stopped.

"He looked straight at me," Eugene said, "I thought, 'Oh, this man is having an epileptic seizure.'"

Ferdinand Balmaceda also heard the screeching and ran across Coral Street from his job at Lex Brodie's Tire Co. to see if the driver needed help.

"I saw the guy's eyes. He looked crazed," Balmaceda said.

It was like a scene out of movie: a homeless man using his car to ram other cars and terrorize office workers in a crime spree that started in Makiki and ended in Kakaako, police said.

When Eugene noticed the man looking at her a second time, she ran into the office.

"He looked like he was out to do something," she said.

The driver, 69, stepped on the gas pedal.

"He looked like he was coming for me," Balmaceda said. "I had to run behind two cars to get away."

The driver slammed his car into the back of another parked car, spun his car around a couple of times, then left the parking lot, said Honolulu police Detective Steven Areola.

The driver then circled the block, struck yet another car, this one traveling on Cooke Street, then returned to the Chaney Brooks parking lot and rammed his car into a pickup truck, Areola said.

Police officers surrounded the car and arrested the driver.

Areola said the man's trail of crime and destruction started at the Royal Kinau Apartments at 728 Kinau St., from where the man had been evicted.

He said the man had been living in his car since.

Sometime before 9 a.m., the man rammed his car into some steel bars protecting the front door of the apartment building, damaging the barrier and a bench in the process, Areola said. The man had earlier threatened the owner of the building.

He then headed toward Chaney Brooks, the property management company that evicted him.

Chaney Brooks Vice President Heather Huel does not remember when the man was evicted, but she is familiar with his case.

"There's been stuff going on with him for a long time," Huel said.

On his way to the Coral Street office, the man struck a parked car at the corner of Punchbowl and Halekauwila streets, Areola said. Altogether, police believe the driver damaged six cars in his wake.

Police received a report that the man was carrying a gun, but none was found.

He was booked on seven counts of criminal property damage, terroristic threatening and attempted murder.

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