Lawmaker wants to up the penalty for fleeing from police - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Lawmaker wants to up the penalty for fleeing from police

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

It was a crime spree that left two officers injured, and the 20-year old suspect -- William Andres -- with a bullet wound to his abdomen.

Andres sped off Tuesday afternoon, after allegedly trying to run over two police officers in a stolen car in Waimanalo.He was taken into custody after he crashed into a pickup in Kaneohe. 

Andres faces numerous felony crimes but not one for 'evading arrest'. That's because that is not considered a major crime in Hawaii.

"In many jurisdictions it is a felony," says Tommy Aiu, a retired police officer and federal agent.

Aiu says citizens who flee put police and the public at risk.

"Could cause potential damage or danger to the community or bystanders... there should be some type of law that would cause people to think twice before doing that," says Aiu.

Failing to stop is just a misdemeanor in most counties in Hawaii, and State Senator Will Espero is trying to make it a Class C Felony.

He introduced SB186 in January.

"This year we tried to address the issue of driving away from a police officer... and unfortunately the bill passed the first committee but stalled in the Judiciary committee," says Espero.

He is considering adding to that bill, when it comes up in the next legislative session, to include running from police. Right now, that's not illegal at all.

William Andres is accused of doing that too last week, near Hope Chapel in Kaneohe, after police, again, tried to arrest him for being in a suspected stolen car.

"Certainly the recent incident shows that it can and does happen, and we should have legislation in my opinion that can help police officers in their line of duty," says Espero.

Andres remains in critical condition in the hospital.

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