Star-Bulletin staff and wire

Police, Fire, Courts


By Star-Bulletin staff


Apparent human remains found near Sunset Beach

Employees at the University of Hawaii's livestock research facility near Sunset Beach found what appeared to be human remains yesterday morning, said Wahiawa police Sgt. Henry Holcombe.

An employee was checking an area that is sometimes grazed by sheep and smelled a foul odor, then saw what appeared to be the partial burial of a person, Holcombe said.

Police were called to 58-160 Kamehameha Highway at 9:45 a.m. yesterday, Holcombe said.

Homicide investigators are working on the case, he said.


Lightning gets blame in Volcanoes Park fire

The Kipuka Pepeiao Fire that scorched 656 acres within Hawaii Volcanoes National Park was ignited by lightning, fire investigators determined Friday.

Several old ohia trees about three-quarters of a mile north of Pepeiao Cabin show evidence of a lightning strike, according to a release from the park. Pieces of tree bark blasted off by the lightning's impact were scattered 20 to 30 feet away and the bare tree trunks sport spiral scars where lightning followed the moisture within the tree. Trees, because of their height, are natural lightning rods.

National Park Service and National Forest Service firefighters have been battling the fire for the last week. Aerial reconnaissance Friday showed that the fire had not grown in size.

Forty firefighters and two private helicopters worked Friday on "mop up" operations: connecting manmade and natural firebreaks around the contained fire.

Six firefighters and one private helicopter were scheduled to return to the fire zone yesterday.

"We're very pleased that the burn withstood today's 30-mph wind gusts and drop in relative humidity," Joe Molhoek, Pacific Area Fire Management Officer, said Friday. "We've got it 100 percent contained but there are still some stubborn 'smokes' out there."

Big Isle man charged in witness intimidation

Big Island police arrested and charged a 39-year-old man Friday with intimidating witnesses after he had been bailed out of jail for an earlier offense.

The suspect, Gregory A. Driessen, of a Hawaiian Ocean Views Estates address, was arrested at 7:50 a.m. Friday and charged with two counts of intimidating a witness. He is being held in the Kona police cellblock in lieu of $50,000 bail, police said.

Driessen had previously been arrested on Nov. 26 for discharging a rifle in Hawaiian Ocean View Estates. At the time, Driessen was charged with reckless endangering, prohibited ownership of a firearm, having no firearm registration and having no permit to acquire a firearm.

He posted a $6,500 bail bond Wednesday.


Alleged car thief held after traffic accident

Police arrested a 20-year-old Manoa man after he allegedly got into a traffic accident while driving a stolen pickup truck Thursday.

Police said the suspect was driving the pickup truck in town when he struck another vehicle. Police said he then got out of the truck and fled, using a car that was parked nearby.

A witness to the collision gave the license number of the fleeing car to police.

Police went to the East Manoa Road home of the registered owner of the car, found the suspect, and arrested him on suspicion of auto theft.

Broken glass alerts neighbor to burglary

Police arrested a 23-year-old Waipahu man on suspicion of first-degree burglary early yesterday morning in Kalihi.

Police said a woman heard glass breaking at an unoccupied apartment next door at about 3:10 a.m. yesterday.

When she checked, she saw a suspect entering through a broken jalousie window, police said. The neighbor called police and they arrested the suspect without incident.

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