Stolen car plunges off Maui cliff

Stolen car plunges off Maui cliff

LAHAINA, MAUI (HawaiiNewsNow) - A man who drove a car off a Maui cliff allegedly stole the vehicle from a Good Samaritan who had stopped to help him after a collision. Darrell Peck's Chrysler Crossfire is now underwater after plunging 40 feet off a scenic lookout on Honoapiilani Highway in West Maui. He said the car was stolen nearby when he pulled over after spotting a two-vehicle crash at about 3:30 a.m. on Friday. Two tourists told him that the other driver, Donald Clary, had just punched one of them. Peck went to check on the 50-year-old Kihei resident.

"He was acting like he was on drugs or medication, or off medication, but not at all coherent. He mentioned that blood needed to be drawn," said Peck.

Peck said he left the keys in his vehicle, with the lights flashing to warn other drivers. When he called police to report the accident, he said Clary jumped into the Crossfire and drove off. Responding officers checked parking lots and turnout areas, but could not find the car in the darkness, according to Peck.

Authorities do not know exactly when the vehicle went off the cliff, damaging part of a handrail. Some divers who were spearfishing discovered the submerged car the next morning, according to investigators. Peck told Hawaii News Now that he later found out from Clary's friends and a former landlord that he struggled with mental illness.

"The landlord asked him to leave. He said his condition was getting worse and he didn't feel safe for his family," Peck said.

Peck said he learned that Clary was originally from Michigan and that he was an artist.

"He just took off either purposely or punched the accelerator pedal and he couldn't control it," said Peck. "I feel sorry for him. A car is a car. It can be replaced with another car even though it had sentimental value. It was my favorite car, but at the same time, it's nothing compared to a human life.

Peck's car belonged to his son who died three years ago. Peck is working with his insurance company to pull the vehicle out of the ocean.

The results of an autopsy that was done on Monday won't be released for several weeks. The case is classified as an unattended death.

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