Police vehicles block the Mauna Kea Access Road Tuesday as officers hunt for a carjacking suspect who was believed to be hiding out on the mountain. (TOM CALLIS/Stephens Media Hawaii)
A Honda Accord, the car believed to be stolen by Jeremy Todd Rios is towed after police discovered it abandoned off Saddle Road. (TOM CALLIS/Stephens Media Hawaii)
A manhunt on Mauna Kea came to an end Tuesday evening when a suspected carjacker was taken into custody.
Jeremy Todd Rios, 31, was arrested at 6:30 p.m. on Mauna Kea Access Road, more than six hours after he was reported seen in a stolen car near the Mauna Kea Visitors Center after allegedly fleeing from police.
The search prompted the closure of the access road to visitors. Observatory employees were allowed to come and go.
According to police, Rios walked out of a pasture area where an officer making checks took him into custody.
The incident started earlier in the day when police received a report at about 7:40 a.m. of a man flashing a firearm while driving on Kinoole Street.
Police say Rios fled from responding officers in his car and collided with a pickup truck at the intersection of Kinoole and Ohea streets.
Capt. Robert Wagner said Rios then exited his vehicle and carjacked a Honda Accord from a woman who was stopped in traffic because of the collision. The woman was not injured.
Rios took off in the stolen car, clipped another vehicle, then fled to Mauna Kea, according to police.
Gwen Biggert, administrative manager for Mauna Kea Support Services, said observatory crews were sticking to their normal schedules Tuesday.
As employees left, their vehicles were searched by law enforcement, she said.
It was unclear why he went to the mountain.
Wagner said it also wasn’t clear why Rios was flashing the handgun that morning, but noted he was apparently in a fight before the initial report.
“There was a little bit of a scuffle … nothing to the extent where he would need to be brandishing a weapon,” he said.
If he had not been found, officers had planned to continue the search through the night. Wagner said Rios was last seen shirtless and he was likely not prepared for a night on the mountain.
“You can only retain body heat for so long,” he said.