26 motorists nabbed for drunken driving
Big Island police arrested 26 motorists for drunken driving from Nov. 11 through Sunday. Seven of the drivers were involved in traffic crashes and one was younger than 21.
So far this year, there have been 1,161 DUI arrests compared with 1,298 during the same period last year, a decrease of 10 percent.
There have been 1,171 major accidents so far this year compared with 1,299 during the same period last year, a decrease of nearly 9 percent.
So far this year, there have been 24 traffic fatalities on Hawaii Island compared with 36 during the same period last year, a decrease of 33 percent.
To date, 13 fatalities were related to drugs, alcohol or a combination of both.
DUI roadblocks and patrols will continue islandwide.
Carjacker pleads guilty to first-degree robbery
A 19-year-old Mountain View man who carjacked a pharmacy student at knife-point in July so he could use the man’s car to visit his girlfriend pleaded guilty Monday to first-degree robbery.
Prosecutors dropped an auto theft charge against Alkapone Cruz-Balles in exchange for his plea. The plea deal allows the prosecution to seek a 20-year prison term on the robbery charge, which is a Class A felony.
The defense is allowed to argue for an eight-year prison term for Cruz-Balles under the so-called “young adult defendant” statute, which applies to felony defendants less than 22 who have not been previously convicted of a felony as an adult or adjudicated as a juvenile for an offense that would be a felony if tried as an adult.
Cruz-Balles is accused of accosting 24-year-old Alexander Guimaraes, a student at the University of Hawaii at Hilo College of Pharmacy, in the Hilo Target store parking lot during the early evening of July 17. He took the victim’s 2013 Hyundai Sonata at knife-point after Guimaraes had loading his groceries into the trunk and fled the scene.
“I pretty much walked up to him and forced him to give up his keys,” Cruz-Balles told Hilo Circuit Judge Glenn Hara.
“And how did you do that?” the judge inquired.
“With a knife,” Cruz-Balles replied.
Hara ordered Cruz-Balles to return for sentencing on Jan. 21 at 9 a.m. Cruz-Balles remains in custody at Hawaii Community Correctional Center in lieu of $12,000 bail.
By local sources