Man Charged with Running Checkpoint as Lava Approaches

June 4, 2018, 10:00 AM HST (Updated June 4, 2018, 10:00 AM)
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Hawaiʻi Island police have arrested a Kapoho motorist after he disregarded and sped through a traffic control checkpoint on Government Beach Road, just north of the intersection with Highway 132, as an active lava flow approached.

The suspect is identified as an Allan Bartels, 62.

On Saturday, June 2, 2018, at approximately 8:30 a.m., a male party drove up to a police checkpoint on Government Beach Road, (Highway 137), just north of Highway 132, “Four Corners” intersection.

Upon being contacted by officers and informed that the road was closed and he could not enter the area, he disregarded the officer’s commands and sped through the checkpoint at a high rate of speed.

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Officers pursued the man’s van with flashing lights and siren in an attempt to stop it; however, he continued south approaching two county workers who were standing on the road attempting to flag the van down.

The driver was observed to shake his head and continue toward them, causing the county worker to jump off the road to avoid being struck.

Officers pursued the suspect to a residence located just above Government Beach Road and arrested him; they then expedited their way back out of the area through the “Four Corner” intersection area as the lava flow was within 50 to 100 feet from crossing onto the roadway and cutting off an exit route.

The suspect was later charged with Refusing to Evacuate, Obstructing Government Operations, Resisting Order to Stop Motor Vehicle, Reckless Driving, and two counts of Reckless Endangering in the 2nd degree.

He was unable to post his $3,750 bail and remains confined at the detention center in Hilo.

Anyone with further information regarding this incident are asked to call Officer Duane Rapoza of the Puna District at (808) 965-2716 or the police non-emergency number (808) 935-3311.

This information was provided by the authorities. All suspects are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

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