East Hawaii News

UPDATE: Carjacking Suspect Captured

July 30, 2013, 9:52 AM HST
* Updated July 30, 11:11 PM
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***Updated at 7:59 p.m.***

The man being sought for a carjacking that occurred this morning in Hilo was captured on Mauna Kea shortly before dusk tonight.

Police said Jeremy Todd Rios walked onto the Mauna Kea Access Road from a pasture at about 6:30 p.m.

He was arrested by a police officer making checks of the area.

Rios was transported to the Hilo cellblock where he was being held tonight.

The access road to the mountain’s summit was then reopened to the public.

***Updated at 1:29 p.m.***

Police today were searching the area around the Mauna Kea Access Road for the suspect in this morning’s Hilo carjacking.

Police said the suspect, Jeremy Todd Rios, 31, was observed fleeing into the brush after abandoning the stolen car off the roadway.

A roadblock had been set up and police have temporarily closed public access to the road which leads from Saddle Road to the summit of the mountain.

A county helicopter crew was assisting in the search.

Police cautioned the public not to pick up hitchhikers on Saddle Road.

***Updated at 11:24 a.m. with the name of the suspect.***

Police are looking for a 31-year-old Hilo man who allegedly stole a 2007 white Honda sedan in a carjacking incident this morning on Kilauea Avenue in Hilo.

The incident began while a Kurtistown woman was driving toward downtown on her way to work.

At about 7:40 a.m., a black Honda ran through a stop sign from West Ohea Street and ran into the side of a Toyota Tacoma pickup traveling in front of her. She said the resulting collision forced her and other cars behind her to stop.

The woman, 32, told Big Island Now that her first response was to grab her cellphone to take a picture of the crash.

But then she noticed the driver of the Honda that had collided with the pickup climb out of the window of his car.

She said the suspect approached her vehicle, opened the passenger side door and got into her Honda, saying, “They’re trying to kill me, they’re trying to kill me.”

She said at about that time, police began arriving at the scene and the man reached over toward her, at which point she got out of the vehicle. The man then climbed into the driver’s seat.

Meanwhile, police approached the vehicle, which was still running and in park, and pointed weapons into the windows, ordering the man to exit the vehicle.

Instead, the man put the vehicle into gear and maneuvered his way around the officers, striking another vehicle in the process, and fled down Kilauea.

Police have identified the suspect in the carjacking as Jeremy Todd Rios.

He was described as 5-foot-7 and 170 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes.

He has multiple tattoos including one on his throat depicting brass knuckles.

The woman said she did not see the suspect with any weapons, and was unhurt in the incident.

“I’m just so glad I didn’t have my kids in the car,” she said, noting that at that time of the day she often has her 4-year-old son strapped into a car seat in the back seat to be dropped off at school.

She said the man was shirtless and wearing shorts and slippers.

Her vehicle, a four-door Accord, had license number HHN 082. Police said the Honda has front-end damage as a result of the collision that occurred as the suspect was leaving the scene of the incident.

Police said the vehicle was last seen on Saddle Road in the vicinity of the Mauna Kea Access Road.

Police arriving at the scene of the collision had been looking for Rios in the black Honda.

Capt. Robert Wagner said officers were investigating an earlier report that the man had been seen brandishing a weapon on Kinoole Street.

Modified Google Maps image (click to enlarge).

Modified Google Maps image (click to enlarge).

Officers responding to that report observed the black Honda leaving the parking lot of a business complex near Kahaopea Street. Wagner said they turned around and by the time they caught up with the suspect the collision had already occurred.

Based on the earlier report, police said the occupant may be armed and dangerous and should not be approached.

Police ask that anyone with information on Rios or the stolen car call the police department at 935-3311.

***Updated at 10:58 a.m. with additional details.***

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