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Police Open Investigation Into Road Rage Incident

November 20, 2019, 4:39 PM HST
* Updated November 20, 5:11 PM
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https://www.facebook.com/koapaka.puahala/videos/3021450844551005/

A criminal investigation has been opened into a road rage incident involving a motorist and a motorcyclist in Puna.

Koapaka Puahala, of Hilo, captured the altercation between the two drivers on Nov. 19 while traveling on Highway 130 in Kea‘au. After posting it to social media, the video was shared 2,100 times.

“I’ve never seen anything like this in my entire life,” Puahala said Tuesday. “I’m amazed something like this could happen out of pure spite and road rage.”

Hawai‘i County Police Capt. John Briski of the Puna District said the video was sent him, adding it spread like wildfire on social media.

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The incident occurred at almost 2 p.m. The video shows the motorcyclist tailgating an SUV in the lefthand lane headed toward Shower Drive. Puahala said the driver of the SUV brake-checked the motorcyclist a couple of times. At one point, he saw the motorcyclist pull out what appeared to be a night stick and hit the back corner window of the vehicle.

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The driver of the SUV reacted, swerving into the motorcyclist physically pushing the bike off to the righthand shoulder. The motorcyclist continued driving a ways then weaved back into traffic, looking over his shoulder several times.

“People should learn from the video that our roads are dangerous and actions like that can have extreme consequences,” Briski said. “I don’t even know how he (motorcyclist) stayed upright.”

Briski said it’s not very often road rage is reported to police, but everyone knows it happens. It’s even rarer for the incident to be captured on video.

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Road rage investigations can be difficult without someone coming forward. With the images displayed in the video, police are able to look further into the case.

The Puna captain hopes the people involved come forward. The video doesn’t tell the whole story, he added.

The road rage incident happened just seven hours after a head-on collision in Kailua-Kona on Kuakini Highway left one woman dead and another critically injured. Police have responded to a slew of fatal car crashes in less than two weeks.

To date, there were 20 fatal crashes, resulting in 20 fatalities compared to last year where there were 25 fatal crashes, resulting in 27 fatalities.

Hawai‘i Island locals and long-time residents still remember a time when driving with Aloha was a regular practice. Briski thinks as the world has become a much smaller place, “we’re influenced by things we weren’t before.”

The captain encourages anyone who witnessed the incident to come forward. They can call Hawai‘i Police Department’s non-emergency at 808-935-3311.

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