East Hawaii News

Driver in Park Crash Charged with Stealing Truck

May 21, 2014, 4:06 PM HST
* Updated May 21, 5:24 PM
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Hiram Kawelu, the driver of a truck which crashed into a tree along Highway 11 early Sunday, was charged today with allegedly stealing that vehicle.

The charge against the 25-year-old Hilo man was filed by Big Island police, who arrested Kawelu and his passenger following a court appearance Monday by the two on federal charges.

Kawelu was being held in the police cellblock with his bail set at $10,000.

The passenger, 21-year-old Cole Evans-Tanigawa of Hilo, who police had arrested on suspicion of being in possession of stolen items, was released today pending further investigation.

Hiram Kawelu. HPD photo.

Hiram Kawelu. HPD photo.

Rangers from Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, where the crash occurred, had earlier charged Kawelu with driving while intoxicated and without a driver’s license, and failure to maintain control of a vehicle.

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Rangers charged Evans-Tanigawa with providing false information.

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Both were released on the federal charges on a signature bond. They are scheduled to appear before a federal judge on Oct. 8.

Police said the pickup truck was stolen in Hilo on May 14.

A generator, fishing rods with reels and a cooler allegedly in the truck’s bed were reported stolen from a campsite at South Point early Sunday morning.

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Police are also investigating several break-ins of vehicles at the entrance to Kawa Beach in Ka`u that morning.

According to park rangers, a stolen calf was apparently in the truck when it crashed near the access road to the Volcano Golf & Country Club.

After the crash, several golfers reported sightings of the calf around the course, said Ken Yoshitomi, the course’s director of golf.

The calf has not been spotted lately, but cow manure was found Tuesday on the green on the seventh hole, Yoshitomi said.

There is some speculation that the calf may have wandered into a pasture located adjacent to the rough on the left side of the seventh fairway.

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