May 30—Four HPD officers charged in connection with an alleged September 2021 car chase, crash and cover-up had their trial put off against the objection of city prosecutors until Aug. 21, according to state court records.
Four HPD officers charged in connection with an alleged September 2021 car chase, crash and cover-up had their trial put off against the objection of city prosecutors until Aug. 21, according to state court records.
Oahu Circuit Judge Paul B.K. Wong, according to a Monday state court docket entry, granted a joint motion by attorneys for the four officers asking for a continuance against the objections of the Department of the Prosecuting Attorney. Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Scott K. Bell, through a spokesperson, told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser the prosecution told the court it was ready to proceed during a pretrial conference held May 1 via Zoom.
Officer Joshua J.S. Nahulu, 37, with collisions involving death or serious bodily injury for allegedly causing the crash near the corner of Farrington Highway and Orange Street that paralyzed a teenager and left the driver of a white 2000 four-door Honda Civic with a traumatic brain injury.
Nahulu faces a Class B felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
Officers Erik X.K. Smith, 25, Jake R.T. Bartolome, 35, and Robert G. Lewis III were charged with hindering prosecution in the first degree, a Class C felony punishable by up to five years in prison. Smith, Bartolome and Lewis were also charged with conspiracy to commit hindering prosecution in the first degree, a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail.
All four entered not-guilty pleas March 23, and their trial had been scheduled to start this week.
Nahulu’s attorney, Richard Sing, declined comment. Smith’s attorney, Doris D. Lum ; Bartolome’s attorney, Pedric T. Arrisgado ; and Lewis’ attorney, Benjamin R.C. Ignacio, did not immediately return Star-Advertiser requests for comment.
Smith, Bartolome and Lewis were released after posting $5, 000 bail, and Nahulu is free on $10, 000 bail. The officers were placed on restriction of police authority.
At about 3 :30 a.m. Sept. 12, 2021, Nahulu, Smith, Bartolome and Lewis were dispatched to a noise complaint about a party in Maili Beach Park, according to the felony information and nonfelony complaint filed March 16.
A white 2000 four-door Honda Civic drove out of the parking lot when the officers arrived, and Nahulu, Smith and Bartolome allegedly followed in an unannounced pursuit.
Nahulu was allegedly “nearest the sedan when it left the highway and crashed onto private property ” at about 3 :45 a.m., injuring all six occupants, some critically, when they were ejected from the Civic after it crashed through a yard and over a concrete wall.
Nahulu, Smith and Bartolome allegedly drove past the scene of the crash, then pretended to know nothing about it when a police dispatcher sent them back to the scene. The three officers allegedly met up in the driveway of Waianae Intermediate School before the 911 dispatcher sent them to the scene of the crash, according to the complaint.
Body-worn camera footage from Smith, Bartolome and Lewis responding to the crash scene allegedly shows them acting as if they had “no prior knowledge of the facts that gave rise to the collision.”
Attorneys in a civil suit against the city allege that Nahulu had an old spat with Jonaven Perkins-Sinapati, the driver of the car, which had six people in it when it crashed.
Perkins-Sinapati suffered brain damage, was on life support after the crash and is pursuing a civil action against the officers.
Four other passengers who sustained injuries in the early morning crash recently settled with the city for $4.5 million. Those passengers were 17, 18, 20 and 21 at the time of the crash.
Their attorney, Michael I. Stern, has told the Star-Advertiser that some of the officers allegedly returned to the scene of the crash on Sept. 13, 2021, and warned witnesses not to talk to investigators.
The passenger paralyzed that morning was Dayton Gouveia, 14 at the time.
He was paralyzed for months from the neck down, and doctors estimate the health care serv ices he will need throughout his life will cost about $7 million.
Gouveia is working through depression and has permanent nerve damage and injuries to his neck and back that have led to mobility and balance issues. He is also struggling with internal functions.